Rotherfield landlord says call time on lorries near pub
AN HISTORIC pub has been hit by a lorry for the third time in a year.
The incident happened on Friday morning, while the landlord of The King's Arms in Rotherfield, Justin Scales, was preparing to open up.
Backed by Rotherfield Parish Council, for years he has been pressuring East Sussex County Council's highways department to ban lorries from Station Road.
Les Pike, chairman of Rotherfield Parish Council, said: "It's a Grade II-listed building. We should be protecting it not smashing it to bits."
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Mr Scales, fed-up with dealing with insurance claims, said: "This big lorry was trying to turn into the High Street and the pub suddenly went black as it came past the window and blocked out all the light. Apparently the driver was trying to get to the industrial estate in Jarvis Brook but as he turned right the tiles came off the pub like Jenga blocks."
The King's Arms sits at the corner of Station Road and the High Street. Mr Scales, who has run the pub with his wife Kim for six years, has suggested HGVs heading for Crowborough from Wadhurst or Frant be sent south to Argos Hill first, then west up South Street.
He said: "There are things the county council could do. There should be a lorry ban from Mark Cross to Rotherfield. Lorries should go past The Bicycle Arms instead.
"Instead they've put up a sign here which says the road is 'unsuitable for HGVs' but when foreign drivers are following a sat-nav they'll ignore that.
"The sign at the moment is advisory but if it was 'No HGVs' then the diversion would be enforceable. They were going to put some bollards outside the pub but we're too close to the road.
Mr Pike, himself a former lorry driver, added: "We would all like to see an HGV ban but we're not getting far at the moment. We're having another meeting soon and it's back on the agenda.
County council spokesman James Holland said: "We appreciate this is very distressing for Mr Scales. We have discussed similar incidents with him in the past and have taken action to reduce the number of lorries using the route by putting up warning signs.
"We would be happy to talk to Mr Scales again and see if there is any more that can be done."