AT A breakthrough meeting, county officials have vowed to work with the Milford Preservation Group (MPG) to resolve long-standing traffic problems on Milford Mill Road.

The "crucial" meeting took place by the Grade 1 Listed bridge, and included MP for Salisbury John Glen, Councillor Bridget Wayman (Wiltshire Council cabinet member for highways), Parvis Khansari, Director of Highways, and Wiltshire Councillors Sven Hocking and Ian McLennan.

The Chairmen of Clarendon and Laverstock and Ford Parish Councils were also present.

David Lovibond of the MPG, said it was "gratifying to see the key decision-makers" after months of lobbying and campaigning.

He added: “Thanks to the influence of John Glen, we had the opportunity to remind Cllr Wayman and Mr Khansari of the threat posed to our nationally important Grade 1 Listed bridge by massively over-weight lorries, and amidst the roar of passing vehicles we were able to demonstrate the impact of ever-increasing volumes of traffic on the peace and wellbeing of local residents.”

Salisbury Journal:

The MPG has previously expressed concerns about the impact of the ETRO scheme - as has the parish councils.

The MPG say Mr Glen acknowledged the place the bridge had in local affections but warned that "TROs were legal restrictions that were not susceptible to change because of emotional attachment".

The group also say that Mr Khansari said that Historic England listings had no influence on a TRO and could not alter its terms.

David Lovibond said the MPG was taking advice from Historic England on whether the highest Listing Grade given to the bridge, the same as that protecting Stonehenge or the Cathedral, might in fact require more flexibility in the TRO.

Proposals for traffic calming, including reducing the speed limit to 20mph, and a much larger "no entry" yellow box by the A36 traffic lights, were "warmly supported by all parties".

Cllrs Hocking and McLennan said they would back these measures when they were formally presented to them at upcoming Salisbury and South Wiltshire Area Boards.

The Chairmen of both parish councils also pledged their support.

David added: “We already have Lorry Watch in place, and once the new measures have worked their tortuous way through the approval process, residents can hope for a real improvement in traffic management locally.

“It remains a profound concern to MPG and residents that the fate of our much-cherished Milford Mill Road bridge, emblematic as it is of this anciently settled part of rural England, is still uncertain. Thanks to John Glen and the co-operation of the Councillors and officials his presence engendered, the MPG has made progress. But the struggle to protect the bridge is not yet a battle won.”

In a recent survey of Milford residents by the MPG, the most popular measures to address the abuse of weight restrictions by HGV drivers, and to mitigate traffic volumes now and post-ETRO were: to vary and strengthen the local Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) so that it specifically protects the medieval bridge; and to introduce traffic calming measures along Milford Mill Road.