Home   Dartford   News   Article

Fears lorries will hit residents after drivers ignore diversion for A226 Galley Hill landslide at Swanscombe

Reporting by Gabriel Morris. Additional reporting by Simon Finlay

A mother fears it is only a matter of time until someone is hit by a lorry after seeing her parked car struck following an emergency road closure.

Residents in Swanscombe complain HGVs are using narrow side streets to avoid the diversion set up following a landslide which happened on the A226 Galley Hill Road last year.

Rae Bottomley, 56, of Trebble Road, said her 10-year-old Honda Civic was struck and damaged by a Hungarian truck late last month and fears it may be written off by her insurance company.

Now locals are calling on Kent County Council (KCC) and the police to take action before there is a serious injury.

She said: “We've all been saying that something's going to happen, that someone's going to get run over.”

Of the damage caused to her car, the mum-of- one added: “I was very upset about it…the lorry should never have been coming down our road in the first place.

“You just don't expect to be able to park your car over your drive just for a short while, and then a lorry comes along and takes the side of it off.”

Rae Bottomley of Trebble Road, Swanscombe, with her damaged car
Rae Bottomley of Trebble Road, Swanscombe, with her damaged car

Mrs Bottomley has yet to hear if the car will be written off by her insurers and claims it might take up to a year to sort out because it is a foreign registered vehicle.

She said a neighbour’s van was also damaged by a lorry whose driver left the scene without stopping.

Graham Taylor, 64, of the Swanscombe and Greenhithe Residents’ Association, confirmed there are “regular reports” of articulated lorries causing damage to cars.

According to him, the presence of two large lorry parks nearby is making the problem more acute.

He said: “It's the lorries using these big lorry parks which seem to be causing the problems.

“There certainly seems to be at least an incident every week.

CCTV footage of a lorry which used a narrow side street to avoid the Swanscombe diversion
CCTV footage of a lorry which used a narrow side street to avoid the Swanscombe diversion

“Some of the signage did reduce the incidents initially, but we've still got a hard core of lorries that are ignoring them. KCC also needs to look at more creative measures to restrict traffic flow.

“We know it’s difficult, there's got to be room for access, the buses have got to get through, dust carts have got to get through, legitimate deliveries to the co-op and so on have got to get through, but the big lorries can't.

“A lot of residents would like to see some form of height restriction put in. Because it can be pitched at a height that lets the buses through, but stops the big lorries.”

Cllr Claire Pearce (Lab), of Dartford council, said: “People's cars and people's properties are being damaged. And it's only a matter of time before something more dangerous happens.

“I know KCC has put signs up…but people are not taking notice. There needs to be more restrictions in place at both the ends just to make sure they're not coming through a residential area.”

Rae Bottomley is calling for action over the articulated lorries
Rae Bottomley is calling for action over the articulated lorries

Just last week KentOnline reported how another lorry got stuck in a nearby Phoenix Parc, next to a children’s play area, after taking a wrong turn on diversion from the A226.

The shocking incident, which was captured on camera, showed the large HGV attempting to but failing to flee the green space near Ebbsfleet United’s Kuflink Stadium before near trampling a picnic.

Police say they are looking at preventative measures alongside KCC, who are in charge of the county’s roads.

North Kent Chief Inspector Will Lay said: “Local officers and roads policing patrols will respond to reports a HGV is committing a traffic offence when they are not engaged on emergency calls and other urgent duties.

“The local beat officer has been speaking to residents and business owners and has set up an online portal for information and videos of suspected offences to be submitted.

“He has also been in contact foreign and UK freight operators whose vehicles regularly travel through Swanscombe and Greenhithe to ensure their drivers avoid the area.

“In addition, we are working with partners to explore opportunities to prevent lorries that breach the weight restriction from using this route. This includes Kent County Council teams ensuring clear signage is in place.”

A spokesperson for KCC said: “We are aware of issues relating to lorries breaching road closures and weight restrictions in the area and we will be ensuring clearer signage is amended as and when it is required.

“We will continue to work closely with partners to find a solution to the issue."

The lorry company declined to comment.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More