Thousands urge community leaders to bring in Walleys Quarry parking ban

Community leaders have been urged to explore tighter regulations to stop lorries from parking outside Walleys Quarry. More than 3,000 people have backed a campaign for red lines to be painted along the length of Cemetery Road - along with banning trucks from the Silverdale Cemetery layby The petition was organised by Simon Burgess who was able to voice the reasons behind the campaign to councillors at Staffordshire County Council.

Due to the number of signatures - compromising of a 2,765-name paper petition and an online petition backed by 703 supporters - the matter was put to the county council's Prosperous Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Mr Burgess told members about the sort of issues being experienced by residents. He said: "That cemetery only has limited parking so people visiting relatives and attending funerals use that layby.

The lorries also use that parking, which is blocking people visiting loved ones. READ:Drivers belt out 'Let It Go' as as Elsa's car breaks down on A50 "The problem we have got is the lorries making that road into a one way lane.

From 6.30am onwards you can only get up one side of the road because the lorries are blocking the other side of the road, which is a main road. "With the traffic and build up you cannot move cars - I'll give you an example. There were 12 lorries on the right hand side of the lane which were ready to dump in the quarry.

"A lorry was coming down the other side of the road and it was blocked in both directions. The lorry could not move and the cars could not move in any way. "My concern is if that was an ambulance or a fire engine.

It took 10 minutes for this to be rectified because one lorry driver refused to move his lorry because it meant going to the back of the queue. "It took 10 minutes for this one lorry to pull onto Walleys Quarry because of the space it needed to get onto the quarry. I class that as a risk to health - a fire engine or ambulance could have been late getting to an emergency which could have been a risk to life.

"There's a risk to vehicles and pedestrians on that road because of how the cars are having to swerve against each other. I've noticed the amount of close calls the cars have had."

Lorries queueing to go into Walleys QuarryLorries queueing to go into Walleys Quarry

Committee members did not propose action in response to the petition on Thursday because an application to allow lorries on site from 6am - an hour earlier than currently allowed - is due to be considered by the authority. Committee chair Tina Clements said this would take place on December 2 at the earliest.

A Walleys Quarry spokesman said: "This has been done with the intention of easing traffic congestion and, if granted, this application will allow vehicles to enter the site at an earlier time so that traffic is cleared more efficiently and quickly. No tipping works will begin until 7am, dictated by the current permit. "All lorries will be parked on the haul road with their engines off to avoid noise disturbance.

We anticipate this would result in between 12 and 24 vehicles being removed from the road. We hope the council will grant permission for our application which would address some of the concerns raised. "Walleys Quarry Ltd has led the way on effective and safe traffic management for Cemetery Road.

This has long been an issue we have raised and discussed with our community; we understand and share the community's concern. "As early as November 2019, we called for consultation on making Cemetery Road a clearway 'red route' to minimise the risk of any roadside parking. WQL offered then to provide financial support for such a scheme and that offer remains in place, as the council is aware.

Walleys Quarry in Silverdale

"We hope the council will seek to work with us to ensure this road can be managed in a way that guarantees the safety of our neighbours, our staff and our community."

But Mr Burgess said at Thursday's meeting: "I understand that Walleys Quarry Limited have put in for a permit to open the gates earlier. This is just a patch, it will not fix the problem. "If this permit is allowed it will just encourage noise pollution.

The lorries need to pass 11 estates which are residential. "I believe the lorries will turn up earlier than the 6am opening they are allowed to do. The people on all those estates are going to get woken up by the heavy loads; the lorries make such a noise."

Councillor Simon Tagg presented the petition to the authority at a meeting in July. At Thursday's meeting he said: "At the moment the application is being evaluated by the planning officer and this should be seriously looked into. "A few years ago an unofficial trial of this took place for many months.

And I did see at the time this did relieve the issue of lorries on the road, particularly at that early time. "I would be interested to see if that application can be brought forward - and if it can relieve pressure on the road it can be supported. I understand residents' concerns about possible noise, I think that needs to be conditioned to ensure that there is almost a rota of people coming in and out.

Walleys QuarryWalleys Quarry

"Highways have always said (a restriction on Cemetery Road) would displace these lorries onto other roads and move the problem away, possibly into residential areas, which I have a lot of sympathy with.

But it doesn't mean we shouldn't be trying to address this issue. "On the issue of the layby, I think there is something possibly which could be taken forward from Highways because the layby on Cemetery Road is about people being able to park to go to the cemetery. At the moment we do get lorries parked there overnight, over Bank Holidays and weekends.

"Certainly restricting the length of time vehicles could be in there could be a way, because people visiting the cemetery are there for a certain amount of time and are not going to be there overnight or over a weekend. That could be a way of making it safer - it isn't safe at the moment and hasn't been for a while. "Overall I support the petition coming in.

I think it's something we can take away as county councillors and I will speak to Councillor Derrick Huckfield about the layby to try and get some safety there and a priority for residents." NEWSLETTER: Sign up for email alerts direct to your inbox READ NEXT:

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