It was as if all my birthdays and Christmases had come at once. Those lovely yellow signs by the roundabout at the top end of Hilperton Drive, announcing that work on the long-awaited Hilperton relief road would begin almost immediately.
I moved to Hilperton some two- and-a-half years ago and was well aware that my house sits directly by the side of the extremely busy B3105.
What I didn’t bargain for, however, was the way in which traffic speeds through the village and the increasing size and frequency of lorries and heavy goods vehicles.
Since I have lived in Hilperton, I have seen absolutely no evidence of anyone attempting to address this problem. Indeed, villagers have been actively discouraged from raising this issue with our local, elected representatives because apparently, and I quote “we all know what the road’s like.”
I have never seen a speed camera or anyone monitoring the traffic, and we don’t even have a “Hilperton welcomes careful drivers” sign – not that that would have made any difference, I grant you, seeing as most drivers’ brains go into their boots when going through the village, treating it as practice route for Le Mans.
To make matters worse, I have been subjected to rude gestures and verbal abuse when reversing my car onto my drive which is essential, because reversing on to the road would be suicide for sure.
My heart skips a beat every time I see a child try to cross the road (there is no pedestrian crossing) and on bin collection day, seeing people step into the road to get around bins put out on the narrow pavement means I have to put my hands in front of my eyes.
So yes, I am a bit pleased that work is beginning on the road – bring it on.
And finally, a little tip for the councillors complaining they were left in the dark about the start date.
In my experience of local government (which is considerable) and dealing with contractors, you have to be proactive. It is no good sitting on your hands expecting information to come to you just because you are a councillor. You have to ask questions, make phone calls, bang on doors, rattle cages, weekly or even daily if need be. That is what your job is.
I fully acknowledge that it is regrettable that The Gap will change immeasurably because of the new road. But the villagers of Hilperton will be relieved of the noise, vibration, pollution and considerable danger.
My neighbours will also be able to plan repairs to the damage of their homes, the cracks and crumbling, due entirely to the traffic.
By this time next year, hopefully, Hilperton will once more become a quiet, unassuming small village, something which it was always meant to be. Hurrah.
Edwina Abrook (Mrs), Church Street, Hilperton.