Plea after cottage is damaged by a lorry

PUBLISHED: 07:04 12 October 2006 | UPDATED: 09:54 31 May 2010

The scene after the cottage was damaged - Pic: James Burton

The scene after the cottage was damaged - Pic: James Burton

HEAVY goods vehicles using Saffron Walden s narrow streets have damaged a 570-year-old listed building for the fourth time in three years. Christine Kelman, owner of the historical cottage on Bridge Street, is distraught that her property has been damaged

HEAVY goods vehicles using Saffron Walden's narrow streets have damaged a 570-year-old listed building for the fourth time in three years.

Christine Kelman, owner of the historical cottage on Bridge Street, is distraught that her property has been damaged again and is trying to persuade Essex County Council's highways department to install protective bollards.

She said: "My husband and I moved into this property three years ago with the aim of restoring it.

"We've done a lot of work on it, but when things like this happen it's a major setback."

The beautiful cottage, built in 1430, is a Grade Two Star listed building - described by English Heritage as being a "particularly important building of more than special interest".

Mrs Kelman described the moment when the cottage was struck last Tuesday. She said: "My husband Jon and I were in bed asleep when we heard a tremendous crash at about 10.20pm. Jon rushed to the window to look out, but only just caught the lorry driving off.

"Our bedroom is on the jetty that juts out of the cottage, and a serious impact could put our lives in danger."

The collision caused significant damage to the roof of the property, causing tiles to crash down to the pavement below.

Mrs Kelman said that she reported the incident to the police, but that they were unable to identify the vehicle, which was responsible for the damage.

Although the couple have only lived in Saffron Walden for three years, Mrs Kelman is sure that traffic congestion in the town has got significantly worse.

She said: "I really want to emphasise how bad the traffic is in the town. Overweight vehicles such as the ones that have damaged my house simply shouldn't be using Saffron Walden's narrow streets."

The cottage is located on a part of Bridge Street that is too narrow to allow a large vehicle to pass a car, so drivers are often forced onto the pavement.

Mrs Kelman approached the county council in May to request that bollards are installed to protect her house, but they have not yet taken any action.

A spokesman for the council's highways department said: "The bollards to protect the cottage on Bridge Street are currently on order and we hope to have them installed within four weeks' time."

The cottage is probably one of the oldest buildings in Saffron Walden, and would once have been part of a medieval "hall-house".

Ironically, it was previously inhabited by a Mr Stammers - a divisional foreman for Essex County Council highways and bridges department.

Mrs Kelman is considering petitioning the council to take action against Saffron Walden's traffic problems and would like to hear responses from people in the town who sympathise. Letters should be sent to us at 54 High Street, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 1EE.

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