As you drive through our beautiful town, you will often see, come rain or shine, volunteers from the Lorry Watch team, taking note of the countless heavy goods vehicles who chose to ignore the restriction signs, and drive over our historic bridge. By taking shortcuts through the town, these vehicles have been threatening the bridge’s structural integrity for years, parts of which are thought to date back to the 14th Century, with even the ‘youngest’ parts dating to the 17th/18th centuries.
Despite driver disregard for the restrictions, and the evidence provided, it has been an ongoing concern of Town Council, past and present, that prosecutions have not come to fruition. However, we can finally announce that on Monday 12th March at Chippenham Magistrates Court, Ashtead Plant Hire Company Ltd pleaded guilty to 2 offences, having breached the Bradford on Avon Town Bridge weight restriction on 10th August and 11th September 2017.
They were fined £400 for each offence, Wiltshire Council was awarded £300 costs and a Victim surcharge of £40 also has to be paid. The total penalty was therefore £1140. This is the first Bradford on Avon prosecution since the Police took over the administration of Lorry Watch in Bradford on Avon.
Cllr Dom Newton, Leader of the Council said:
“We welcome news of a successful prosecution resulting from the hard work of Lorry Watch volunteers, and will continue to support them in the fantastic work they are undertaking to help protect one of the iconic heritage locations in the town. Following our recent meeting with Wiltshire Police and Trading Standards, we were aware that several prosecutions were pending, which is good news. We remain concerned at the low rate of referral for prosecution, and Councillors have agreed to explore other avenues to make sure that the hard work of the volunteers is able to deliver the results that we all want to see.”
Steph Ridout, Lorry Watch Co-ordinator added:
“The steadfastness of the volunteers is to be applauded. After 2 years without prosecutions this has at last given us a result. It tells drivers who flout the weight restrictions that we will use the deterrent of a prosecution if they continue to abuse the rules.”