Residents on a South London road are calling for a weight restriction to stop the flow of dangerous HGV traffic down their street after it turned into a rat run.

Plough Lane, which crosses from Wallington in Sutton to Purley in Croydon, is often used as a shortcut by cars and HGVs alike who are trying to avoid the often congested Purley Way.

The road is home to detached homes, flats, a GP’s office and a pharmacy.

Despite being a B road with a width of only 5.25 metres from kerb to kerb, the narrow road often sees 38-tonne lorries attempting to pass each other near the junction with Purley’s Foxley Lane.

Your Local Guardian: Plough Lane cross from Wallington in Sutton to Purley in CroydonPlough Lane cross from Wallington in Sutton to Purley in Croydon

This often leads to the HGVs mounting the kerbs to navigate the road. This, plus the narrow pavements afforded to pedestrians, has raised great concern among residents. 

Ray and Yvonne Cooper have lived on Plough Lane for 28 years and fully support the petition to introduce the weight restriction.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), Ray said: “When we first moved in, people used to spray the sign that said Wallington at the bottom of the road so they wouldn’t see it as a cut-through.

“I remember speaking to the council back in the late 90s. I had a lot of arguments with them saying this was a small road, but they said it was a B road and is allowed. I said you can’t allow these 38-tonne lorries, every time they go over a bump the whole house shakes.

“That was back then, but I think I become so desensitised to it that I don’t feel the vibrations any more.

Your Local Guardian: The narrow junction with Foxley LaneThe narrow junction with Foxley Lane

"It is a problem because of the narrowness, especially down the bottom of the road. I remember seeing one 38-tonne lorry drive along the pavement from the bottom of the hill until it got to the GP surgery. That bit at the bottom is the really nasty bit, but obviously, when it gets up to Foresters Drive, it’s nice and wide.”

In their petitions to Sutton and Croydon councils, residents described being a pedestrian on the road as a “terrifying experience”.

Yvonne, who signed the petition, told the LDRS: “It is scary, I have to lean into people’s fences when the lorries go past. What is really bad is when you’re walking with a toddler and the lorries’ wing mirrors pass over your heads.”

Ray added: “Walking with the buggy is quite frightening. We have a double buggy for when the grandchildren are over and that only just fits on the footpath. You dread to think of what you’ll do when another pedestrian is coming the other way.”

The LDRS also spoke to Mani, who lives next door to the Coopers on the Croydon side of Plough Lane.

He explained how only that morning, a car cutting through from the road opposite lost control and crashed into his garden wall.

Your Local Guardian: The damage caused to Mani's wallThe damage caused to Mani's wall

Along with congestion, he expressed concern over the excessive speeding he has witnessed on Plough Lane.

He said: “I had a big accident at 8:30 this morning from someone coming from the crossroad up there was going too fast and didn’t stop. It was a normal car but it’s always busy around here.

"I didn’t realise how busy it was around here when I first moved, but now I am looking to move back to Epsom.

"I’m planning the sell the house because of it. I’m not comfortable with it. It’s too narrow and not safe. Especially if you want to get the bus, you have to walk along the narrow pavements. Purley is still quite a nice area, but it is getting very busy.”

As for what causes the congestion on Plough Lane, residents and councillors have several theories.

Ray believes the commercial traffic stems from the road’s proximity to commercial centres and nearby schools.

He told the LDRS: “Plough Lane used to be one big road going to Wallington before Croydon Airport was there. Now you can’t drive across because of Roundshaw.

“There’s a bridge that goes over the railway line down there now. It used to be a weak bridge, but they eventually strengthened the bridge and as soon as they did that the Day Aggregates lorries started using this road.

"They could now go over Bandon Hill Bridge and carry up Foresters Drive, down to Day Aggregates. This was about 20 years ago.”

The issue was last put to a local authority during Croydon’s full council meeting in October, where local Conservative councillor Holly Ramsey raised the issue of a potential weight restriction. She said: “Despite its road width and setting, it’s regularly used as a cut-through by HGVs. Usage has increased substantially over the years due to continuous developments and since the opening of the incinerator in Sutton.

“Given the width of the road and the frequent usage by these large vehicles, recurrent and severe damage is being caused. HGVs driving with two wheels on the bottom of the road is a frequent occurrence as the road is too narrow for them to be able to pass another vehicle.

"Numerous kerbstones have had to be replaced by the council and in recent months there’s been two major gas leaks requiring continuous repairs with obvious financial implications for the council and other bodies. 

"Having heard first-hand stories from residents, I can genuinely understand why it’s quite concerning for residents.”

In response to Cllr Ramsey’s statement, Councillor Scott Roache, cabinet member for streets and environment, replied: “At the end of September we received a request from Sutton Council for our view on the proposals to introduce a 7.5-tonne weight restriction on Sandy Lane South, Foresters Drive and Plough Lane. The length of the corridor is predominantly in Sutton, but some is in Croydon.

“We need to carefully assess whether the proposals would displace issues to neighbouring parts of Croydon. I have asked officers to assess the proposals and report back.”

When approached for comment, a spokesperson from Sutton Council said: “We have listened to the concerns of residents in the Foresters Drive and Plough Lane areas, and we have used this feedback, together with technical surveys, to develop suggested changes which can address these issues.

“In the New Year, we will write to residents to seek their feedback on these suggested changes.

"We strongly encourage anyone who may be affected by the suggested changes to let us know what they think by taking part in the engagement process.” 

Croydon Council were approached for comment but failed to provide one in time for publication.