HGV ban call after lorry drama

A VILLAGER whose grade II listed home was struck by an articulated lorry said: ‘We were lucky’.

But Dave Wickham says action is needed to prevent HGV lorries travelling through historic Dobcross.Structural engineers will assess the full extent of the damage to the 170-year-old house – known as the old shop – on the corner of Platt Lane and the Square.

The shaken driver was treated at the scene by the emergency services but not seriously injured.

However, the accident on Tuesday, September 3 demolished the village memorial, took out bollards, and flower beds and demolished the front wall of the Wickham’s property.

Dave told the Independent: “The irony is two hours earlier the Square was full of children off to school for the first day at Holy Trinity Primary and Saddleworth School.

“They were leaning on the same wall that got demolished, laughing and excited about going back to school.

“Two hours later ‘wallop’ right where they were actually stood.

“We were lucky no one was injured or killed. Two hours earlier and it would have been a different report you were writing.

“We think HGVs coming through are dangerous. We got away with it this time.

“We were lucky a few years back when the war memorial was previously demolished. We might not be a lucky third time,” added Dave, a former member of the Dobcross Village Community.

“While I was on the committee one of the issues was HGVs coming through Dobcross.“I spoke to OMBC who put up ‘no HGV signs’ at all entrances to the village. But they are small and have not worked.

“It would be good if the police were asked for their opinion on how to keep HGVs out of the village.”

Dave and his wife were enjoying a morning cuppa around 10.30am when the drama unfolded.

“There was a huge crash and bang on the side wall where we were sat,” explained Dave.

“It proceeded to go down the wall, past the window and then ‘bang’ again.

“I ran out and saw this HGV demolishing our front wall and careering into the Square.

“It came to rest on our house at an angle. The truck driver told me he was trying to go up Platt Lane, realised he couldn’t get up and tried to reverse backwards and lost control and came right into the side of the gable end.”

The wagon which travelled up Woods Lane was stuck for several hours before being freed by expert recovery personnel and then taken away under police escort.

Paul Clegg, who lives in the Square, is former chair of Dobcross Village Community Executive.
He said: “It would seem the driver of the vehicle was following sat nav instructions after being diverted.

“Everyone in the village felt sorry for him because he was genuinely upset and shaken up.”

It is the second time in five years the landmark monument has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons.

It has stood proudly in the central square for more than 100 years.

However, on Christmas Eve 2014, the 10-ton structure toppled from its plinth after being struck by a van.

The ornately-carved stone panels, topped by a copper lantern, finished up in broken sections.

Repair work in 2015, which saw stainless steel pins inserted, was described as done ‘to ensure the events of Christmas Eve last year can never happen again’.

The monument was erected in 1901 by public subscription as a tribute to the Saddleworth area’s first medical officer of health, Dr Walter Henry Fox Ramsden.

Another panel was added in memory of his grandson WPB Stonehouse, also a local physician, who died in 1998.

A spokesman for Oldham Council said: “The monument is a focal point of the village and we are disappointed that it has been damaged.

“Once we have a clearer picture of what work is needed we’ll update people.”

 

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