Lorry park site is less than per­fect

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

I HAVE had a view of an ad­mit­tedly cen­sored draft re­port of Kent County Coun­cil’s “im­prove­ment op­tions for Op­er­a­tion Stack”. Un­for­tu­nately KCC has seen fit to ex­clude the names of the other po­ten­tial sites. But it would seem from their own as­sess­ment the pre­ferred site to the south of the M20 Sel­lid­nge con­verter sta­tion may be less than per­fect, as “the ge­ol­ogy of the area sug­gest poor foun­da­tions and there are large ar­eas of wa­ter ad­ja­cent to the site with a high po­ten­tial for great crested newts”. It may also be of in­ter­est to read­ers that KCC also have a pro­posal for de­vel­op­ing an area to the north of the ser­vice sta­tion, ie, ad­ja­cent to the A20 as an ad­di­tional park­ing buf­fer zone. And this per­haps would lay weight to the orig­i­nal sug­ges­tion that their pro­posed so­lu­tion is noth­ing more than a plan to in­dus­tri­alise the East Stour Val­ley. They also sug­gest a hy­brid op­tion in­volv­ing the quick mov­able bar­rier and also us­age of the A20 be­tween Folke­stone and Dover. This com­bined pro­posal of­fers park­ing for some 7,300 lor­ries at a cost of £26 mil­lion, ie: vir­tu­ally twice the ca­pac­ity of their pre­ferred op­tion at just over half the cost. A fur­ther ad­van­tage of en­sur­ing the stack­ing area was closer to Dover Har­bour would mean that we would no longer have the lu­di­crous sit­u­a­tion of the fer­ries leav­ing half-empty be­cause of the length of time it takes for the po­lice to bring the lor­ries from the cur­rent stack­ing area to Dover. J. O. Davies, Smeeth, Ash­ford.

I WAS con­cerned by the let­ter from KCC leader Paul Carter in which he says, among other things, that he has per­son­ally been in­volved in a search for a site for the pro­posed lorry park. Since he headed the KCC ed­u­ca­tion port­fo­lio at the time the site was be­ing cho­sen, I don’t be­lieve he would have de­voted much time to it. The more I learn the more con­vinced I am that the whole thing has just been clubbed to­gether without much thought or proper con­sid­er­a­tion of a gen­uine long term so­lu­tion. KCC is ‘mak­ing do’ in a hap­haz­ard fash­ion. I be­lieve the mis­take Mr Carter is mak­ing is that he sees it as a lo­cal prob­lem, when in fact it is a much more fun­da­men­tal is­sue. Dover is, de facto, Bri­tain’s largest port and with a large vol­ume of ex­pand­ing traf­fic with the EU, which is also Bri­tain’s largest trad­ing part­ner. This is rea­son enough for cen­tral Gov­ern­ment in­volve­ment. An im­por­tant port needs a whole in­fra­struc­ture sup­port which is ba­si­cally lack­ing in Dover. A ma­jor lorry park is in­deed part of this in­fra­struc­ture. Per­haps Mr Carter should visit the port of Calais, where on the main apron there is enough room for more than a lorry park. Vera Lec­chini, Ald­ing­ton.

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