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Chirton, Enford and Urchfont roads boss slated
Conservative councillors have joined in with criticism of fellow Tory Dick Tonge over his handling of a diversion for heavy lorries through tiny villages.
Cabinet member Coun Tonge was in charge of diversions directing more lorries onto the A342 and A345 going through villages including Chirton, Urchfont and Enford instead of using the A360 south of Devizes because of a narrow bridge.
Villagers complained they had not been consulted about the diversion and said the roads were not suitable for the heavy traffic.
At Pewsey Area Board meeting on Monday Two of Coun Tonge’s Conservative colleagues Coun Stuart Wheeler and Coun Chris Williams said they were far from happy with the way the consultation over the signs was being conducted.
Coun Williams said: “We have raised these questions with Dick Tonge but it’s like talking to a brick wall.
“I say this although he is a fellow councillor.”
Enford parish councillor Stan Bagwell said anyone trying to find out information about who decided the controversial truck diversion signs should be put up were being stonewalled by Coun Tonge and highways officers.
Coun Bagwell said he had letters from highways officers written before the new signs were put up saying the A345 was not suitable for HGVs let along the extra one-third in lorry traffic.
Coun Bagwell said afterwards: “We know there are problems on the A360 because of the low railway bridge by the Chocolate Poodle in Littleton Panell but pushing the heavy goods traffic through our villages is not the answer. All of the villages along the A342 and A345 have problems of their own with very narrow streets including a bridge on the A342 where the road is too narrow for two HGV’s to pass.
“The last thing we wanted was for our problems to be made worse and it does not help us at all that Dick Tonge is refusing to discuss who recommended that these signs were put up.”
Coun Tonge said: “Some of the things they are asking are not germain to the discussion which is about the best route for high-sided vehicles.
“The temporary signs were introduced by officers in response to representation from communities along the diversionary route of Chocolate Poodle bridge.
“These were not the full permanent diversionary signage proposed by a report in 2010, and were only advisory and not banning use of A360.”