Villagers near Ripon are appealing for common sense after a satnav drama caused a lorry to get stuck and damage an 18th century wall for the second time in less than a year.
Residents in Galphay saw an articulated lorry get into diffculties as it tried to travel down a narrow lane after a satnav system had directed the driver down what appeared to be a shorter route into the village.
The driver, who was carrying construction materials for a farm building, was trying to take a sharp left-hand turn off a narrow village lane when the vehicle became wedged between George and Jeanne Banham’s home at Lupin Cottage and a telegraph pole at around 10.30am on Monday, September 5.
Mrs Banham said: “The driver knocked on my door to ask me to move my car so I asked him what he was doing trying to get down such a narrow lane.
“He told me he had to continue down the lane as he couldn’t reverse back the way he came.
“I moved my car and ran round to the front of the lorry. I could see straight away he was never going to make it round the corner.”
Mrs Banham then went to her neighbour Paul Heywood, himself a lorry driver, to ask for help directing the driver out of the spot, but with the vehicle wedged between Lupin Cottage there was no way it could get free under its own steam.
The driver phoned ahead to Owster Hill Farm, where builders waiting for the materials sent two forklift trucks to lift the lorry’s trailer free and set it straight on the lane.
But as the two-hour long drama unfolded, Mrs Banham said she feared for her home as the driver and builders tried to free the load.
“I was frightened to death when the load started to rock,” she said.
“It was right next to our kitchen window and the load could have come off and taken down the power lines or the buildings either side. I called the police because I thought it required police supervision.”
When the lorry and its trailer finally moved off they left Mr and Mrs Banham’s garden wall in pieces and uprooted flowers planted round the verge.
The flowers had only been planted 11 months after another lorry destroyed the wall after taking the same satnav directions through the village.
Now Mr and Mrs Banham are planning to ask Harrogate Borough Council’s Highways Department to erect a sign at the top of the lane stopping HGVs taking that route into the village.
The couple, who have already had one request to council officials for a sign turned down.
They believe a sign saying the lane is unsuitable for HGVs would force drivers to take the longer route into the village and put an end to the problems.
Neighbour Paul Heywood agrees that the lane should be off-limits for vehicles wider than six foot.
“I felt for the driver because he genuinely made an error and was embarrassed more than anything,” he said.
The lorry’s operators Musgrave Transport of Beverley confirmed that the incident had taken place, and said they sent Mrs Banham flowers to apologise.