WI president wages war on the sat nav

Pictured is Joan Newton, who is protesting about HGV being used on Hangram Lane
Pictured is Joan Newton, who is protesting about HGV being used on Hangram Lane

A CLASH between 21st century technology and 18th century country lanes has prompted a campaign by members of the Women’s Institute on the rural fringes of Sheffield.

They say there has been a “marked increase” in the numbers of HGVs getting stuck in the Mayfield Valley since the introduction of sat navs.

“It is only a matter of time until a fatal accident happens and Mayfield Valley WI are not prepared to allow this to happen,” says their petition.

Many of the narrow roads have no footpaths, putting at risk walkers, joggers, cyclists and horse riders, it is argued.

Schoolchildren are often on nature trails and the Sheffield Guides’ outdoor training centre is nearby.

“There is a narrow bridge over the River Porter and two sharp bends on Woodcliffe where HGVs are becoming stuck, causing long tailbacks of traffic.

“With many bends and, in places, high hedges, neither vehicles nor people can be seen until close at hand and there is no place for people to escape the traffic. These country lanes were built in the 18th century and are totally unsuitable for this type of traffic.”

The petition has been organised by Joan Newton, president of Mayfield WI, who lives in Hangram Lane, and is urging the council to ban all HGVs with the exception of farm traffic on Hangram Lane, Cottage Lane, Woodcliffe and Quiet Lane.

There is also pressure for the authority to look at other roads leading to and from Ringinglow Road.

WI members are calling for a lowering of the speed limit in the area to 30 mph from 60 mph – “and they do come at that speed,” said Mrs Newton, who has no idea of the route lorries are being advised to take by their sat navs.

“But everybody has noticed there has been a big increase in the number of vehicles, the type you see on the motorway.”

She said there has been a positive response to the petition, which has been circulated across Fulwood and Lodge Moor, including church and scout and guide groups and at Forge Dam and Endcliffe Park cafes as well as further afield.

The lanes are used by people all over the city, not just local residents, says the petition.

“In Sheffield, we are rightly proud of the Golden Frame which circles the city. The Mayfield Valley is part of this frame and Sheffield City Council have a right to maintain this situation.”

The signatures are due to be presented to the council in May. Highways officers are expected to investigate and produce a report for councillors.

Meanwhile, Mrs Newton and her colleagues will continue to warn of the dangers of sat nav. “What’s wrong with reading a map, I can’t see,” she said.