Axminster lorry ban could be killer blow

Traders warn restricting delivery times would put already hard-pressed businesses at further risk

AXMINSTER traders want to put the brakes on plans for a town centre lorry ban.

They say it could be a killer blow for many businesses in the current economic climate.

Preventing vehicles over 7.5 tonnes delivering between 10am and 6pm is being looked at by the town council as part of its new traffic management review.

But representatives from local business turned out to warn councillors that imposing a ban could have disastrous results for the local economy.

They told members of the traffic management committee that:

* A ban on delivery lorries between specific hours would be detrimental, possibly even terminal, to the ability of a business to trade – especially so in the present economic situation.

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* If such a ban was put in place it would simply aggravate traffic problems in the busy rush hour periods or add to business costs as staff would have to work outside normal hours to be present to load or unload deliveries.

* That regulation of heavy goods vehicle drivers’ hours make it impractical to specify delivery within certain times of the day.”

Members of the committee heard there had also been criticism of other suggestion to speed traffic flow – including extending the one way system.

Objectors warned that the council should have “greater awareness of people’s livelihoods and the need for businesses to both receive and give a first class service. Many of the proposals suggested would undermine this ability.”

But Councillor Brian Watson, who chaired the committee meeting, pointed out that they were currently only looking at suggestions which could form the basis of a much longer discussion process before a draft set of possible solutions was drawn up. At that stage a proper public meeting would be called.

He said the main problem which needed to be addressed was how to persuade through heavy goods vehicles to keep away from the town centre.