Furious residents of New Road in Lovedean are being driven up the wall. A small, insignificant dead-end sign at the entrance to the narrow road does nothing to warn drivers it’s little more than an upgraded country lane.
There’s no vehicle turning circle and the pavements are barely wide enough in places for two people to walk along.
I’m sure we’d just have ended up being ignored time and again if it wasn’t for Streetwise getting involvedAngela Swift
Hit-and-run delivery drivers routinely drive up the road.
Unable to turn around they reverse into front drives, trashing garden walls and fences and then driving off without reporting the damage.
Retired Angela and Raymond Swift are now on their fourth insurance claim after another reckless driver backed into their boundary wall last September, leaving them with a £2,500 repair bill.
It was the second hit in the space of nine months and it happened so quickly no-one was on hand to witness the incident.
An angry Angela said: ‘I was sat here and heard the noise but it never registered what it was.
‘The people across the road were around, but they too didn’t realise our wall had been damaged again so they didn’t take the vehicle’s number.’
‘As soon as you drive up the road, it’s obvious there’s no turning point’, she said.
‘The district council’s own dustmen have reversed up it for years as they know full well it’s impossible to turn around.’
After the latest incident a thoroughly frustrated Angela complained to Hampshire County Council highways department about the lack of an appropriate warning at the entrance to the road.
But in a dismissive letter seen by Streetwise, an angry Angela was told that no legal form of cautionary road signage was available and the letter implied she’d just have to put up with it.
Another furious neighbour, Brian Collins, shared Angela’s concern that delivery drivers aren’t warned there’s nowhere to turn around in the road.
With the steady growth of online shopping, the problem was only going to get worse.
He’s had his front wall hit so many times over the years by careless delivery drivers he decided to demolish it completely.
He said: ‘We all suffer from this problem. Big lorries come up here, they can’t turn in the road so they bump up the kerbs and damage our walls. The last time my wall got knocked again at the corner. It was dangerous so I just thought it was time to take it down.’
The Swift’s next-door neighbours Sheila and Tony Sumners were astounded that nothing had been done to caution drivers about the unsuitability of the road for most large delivery vehicles.
Tony has been regularly alerted to the noise of vehicles hitting his neighbour’s front garden wall.
He explained: ‘New Road suffers a real problem as we get so many deliveries up here by people using vehicles that quite clearly are too big for the road.
‘What I’d like to see is improved signage at the bottom of the road that says something about no turning, or turning restricted.’
Long-suffering neighbour Karen Gorchov was angry at having her gatepost knocked down and an unknown driver reversing into her parked car.
‘This isn’t a recent thing, she said. ‘It’s been happening for years. My husband David has been in touch with the highways people and they’ve given him a reference number and claim they’re looking into it, but so far they haven’t got back to us.’
Julie Hughes, who has lived in New Road for 14 years, says she hasn’t had a problem because she opted for a hedge and low picket fence combination.
She’d also widened her driveway, which has reduced the risk from large vehicles backing into it and damaging her frontage.
Streetwise contacted the county council, expressing concern that no-one appeared interested in finding a solution to the New Road residents’ repeated misery and frustration.
It was clearly unacceptable that they were expected to put up with the regular destruction of their garden frontages by inconsiderate delivery drivers.
Following our intervention, the council agreed to arrange a meeting to sort the matter out.
Soon there was much better news for the Swifts and their neighbours.
A spokesperson said: ‘Hampshire County Council has confirmed that highways officers will be reviewing existing signage in the area.’
Only days later an end-of-road meeting with highways officers resulted in an agreement to have the appropriate warning signage erected.
A grateful Angela was relieved to get our assurance that finally the residents’ complaints had been taken seriously and the council had responded positively.
‘I can’t thank you enough for all your help’, she said. ‘I’m sure we’d just have ended up being ignored time and again if it wasn’t for Streetwise getting involved.’