A VALLEYS community is calling for action to stop their historic church getting repeatedly damaged by HGVs.

According to residents of Mynyddislwyn, ten trucks have damaged the wall of Mynyddislwyn Church over the past ten years, and three accidents have happened in the past 12 months.

St Tudor's church warden Allan Sharpe said that the road where the church is is being used instead of the B4251 because drivers are confused by signs.

However, Caerphilly County Borough Council have said the problem has been difficult to solve because of the use of Satnavs. 

Mr Sharpe said that the incidents have meant members of the congregation have had narrow escapes and in the most recent incident his car was crushed by a lorry trying to reverse.

The church warden said he was "lucky to be alive" and was thankful he wasn't in the car.

He said: “I had come to open the church. Had I got there three minutes later, I would have been crushed inside my car."

The road, which is used by local farms and a gun club, was closed for five hours while attended by three police cars, two fire engines and an ambulance to take the driver who suffered a fracture, cuts and bruising to the accident and emergency department at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.

The church congregation are now calling for clear signage to all vehicles approaching the church, stating that the road is not suitable for HGVs.

The congregation and residents of the mountain say they have petitioned Caerphilly County Borough Council many times over the years, but their requests for clearer signage have gone unheard.

“The Council need to put emphasise signage to warn HGV drivers that they are driving into a trap that they will not be able to pass without causing damage,” said Mr Sharpe. “I fear they won’t do anything until someone is actually crushed by one of these lorries."

In response to the calls for help from residents, a Caerphilly council spokesman said: “It would seem that issues with HGV’s using unsuitable routes are becoming ever more prevalent due to the increased use of Sat Nav units, not just in our county borough but country-wide, and as such, is proving to be a very difficult issue to resolve.

“In response to the complaints that the council has received about this situation on Mynyddislwyn, officers have reviewed the signage on a number of occasions, and as a result, the following works have been carried out:

• ‘Unsuitable for HGVs’ sign erected at Pentwynmawr roundabout.

•  The above ‘Unsuitable for HGVs’ sign was replaced with a pictorial ‘Sputnik’ sign as the local community considered that foreign drivers may not understand the text based/worded version - the sign is suitably located and is clearly visible to approaching drivers.

•  ‘Sputnik’ signs erected on both approaches to A472 Sainsbury’s roundabout

•  ‘Sputnik’ sign erected on Troed-Y-Rhiw Road in Wattsville

•  ‘Unsuitable for HGVs’ sign erected on triangular grassed area in lane.

“In response to specific queries raised by residents relating to the possibility of painting signs such as ‘STOP’ or ‘REVERSE’ on the carriageway, all traffic signs and road markings provided on the public highway must comply with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 and unfortunately, these are not prescribed signs.

“We fully sympathise with these difficulties caused to the local community, and officers have listened to concerns from residents and acted accordingly to the best of their ability."