Country mouse on the perils of HGVs

Our higgledy-piggledy village centre is an unsuitable rat-run for large lorries. Listed buildings (40 in all) judder, brickwork and cars are bashed, schoolchildren shrink in doorways, and one elderly lady can barely open her bedroom window lest it be dashed to pieces by a passing HGV. No one minds the school bus, local racehorse transport or the refuelling of the pub and village stores.

It’s the vehicles thundering to the A303/A34 that we curse; their straying from the bypass only saves six minutes, and we know they do it because vigilant residents give chase. Thus, our MP, Sir George Young, has promised to raise the satnav issue in Westminster.

Imagine, then, the disbelief when council men came to pour cold water and statistics on a packed meeting. ‘Unfortunately’, we’ve only had one minor accident in five years, our air quality is better than on a main road-fancy that!-and our HGV count is slightly too low.

The hapless official who suggested we were ‘lucky to live in such a picturesque village’ was fortunate to get out in one piece. We have no case for change, he said. Yet, next morning, comes a crunching noise: a lorry is impaled on next door’s garden wall. Where’s a statistician when you need one?