Water Street Weight Restriction and Build-Outs
The long-awaited Water Street Experimental Weight Restriction was installed by Suffolk County Highways Department and became operational on the 15th January 2019. This scheme is now permanent.
Its purpose is to provide additional road safety for pedestrians where there are narrow or no pavements and protection for buildings and roadside property from heavy goods vehicles. Vehicles in excess of 7.5 tonnes are now not allowed to travel east along Water Street except to gain access to make deliveries or collections there.
This action was taken in response to numerous instances of damage being caused to buildings and other property by large vehicles. There have also been many complaints from residents and visitors that they feel fearful of large vehicles when walking in Water Street.
The difficulty remains that Water Street and the High Street are part of the A1141. This route is seen by some guidance systems, or word of mouth between drivers, to be a shortcut from the A134 near Cockfield to the A1171 near Hadleigh.
However, we need to take into account the necessity of large vehicles coming to Lavenham to supply shops and other premises and other elements of the local economy such as agriculture.
Much discussion has taken place involving residents, businesses, parish and district councillors as well as county councillors and engineers. The scheme as it has been implemented, has taken account of different views from road users, villagers and professional advisers.
Work has begun to design the permanent scheme but actually making it happen is dependent on funding. Suffolk County Council as the Highways Authority have indicated they will not provide resources for this scheme and Babergh District Council have also indicated that the Parish Council cannot apply to the Community Infrastructure Levy fund for this much needed work. The Parish Council will be considering during 2023, how the money needed to make this happen can be secured.