AN experimental order to restrict heavy goods vehicles using Merlin Way has been extended for six months despite opposition from residents in Wanborough.

After fighting for more than a decade to prevent lorries using the road, Covingham residents finally won a victory one year ago when the seven-and-a-half-tonne weight restriction was imposed.

As of January 14, the order has been extended for six months, and residents hope to make it permanent and even extend it towards Kingfisher Pre-school.

Covingham Parish Council chairman Brian Osbourn said the order had already had a marked effect and it was vital the restrictions continued.

“Over the past year there has been a 30 per cent reduction in HGVs going through the area,” he said.

“We have another extension so they can get all the details and percentages ironed out.

“The residents have been fighting for some sort of restriction for 12 years, and we were asked if we could assist.

“Now that we have seen the successes, we would like to see it extended. We would like to bring in Kingfisher Drive and get the school at the bottom included in the restrictions, because we are now seeing lorries going up Kingfisher Drive and turning right to go to Wanborough.

“There has been a group of people opposing this from the Wanborough area but I believe they are the business users and the farmers rather than the residents there.

“We would hope and pray that this could be made permanent and, if possible, to extend it.

“The people who have done all the work to get us here with the lorry watch were the residents of Merlin Way.”

Coun Dale Heenan, cabinet member for highways, said the intervening six months before the order concluded would be used to assuage the concerns of residents in Wanborough and look at ways to make the restriction permanent.

He said: “The 7.5 tonne weight restriction on Merlin Way was introduced 12 months ago with support from Covingham Parish Council.

“Anecdotally lorry traffic has been cut by a third so councillors Parry, Hurley and I would like to see it made permanent.

“Some residents in Wanborough organised a campaign to object to the Covingham Merlin Way limit being permanent.

“There is little evidence of any issues so the lorry restriction will stay until June, which is the legal maximum time.

“The extra time will be used by council officers to try to address concerns before it’s made permanent.”