The ques­tion that must be an­swered

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

THE com­ments of Kent County Coun­cil leader Paul Carter on pro­pos­als for a lorry park be­tween Ald­ing­ton and Sellindge con­tinue to give con­cern and th­ese are not helped by ap­par­ently con­tra­dic­tory state­ments from within KCC. The key ques­tion for lo­cal op­po­nents of the pro­posal is an in­di­ca­tion that ev­ery al­ter­na­tive to this site had been fully con­sid­ered and why this site should be the only an­swer. De­spite the ques­tion be­ing raised by both pri­vate and pub­lic bodies, a sat­is­fac­tory ex­pla­na­tion has not been given. Is there any rea­son why the pub­lic should not know of the 10 other sites that were as­sessed and why nam­ing such sites would un­nec­es­sar­ily blight those ar­eas? It would also be help­ful to know that even if Ald­ing­ton/ Smeeth was the only ul­ti­mate prac­ti­cal place for a park on what freight, vol­ume and growth es­ti­mates the sites would be con­sid­ered suit­able, as cal­cu­la­tions sug­gest that even in the very early days of op­er­a­tion, the site would be too small to cope with the re­quire­ments of ei­ther overnight lorry park­ing or Op­er­a­tion Stack. The fi­nal ques­tion is in­evitably one of cost. Is this to be borne lo­cally by Kent ratepay­ers? As this is a na­tional, even a Euro­pean prob­lem, the cost should be met by cen­tral gov­ern­ment. Are there any in­di­ca­tions that such fi­nanc­ing would be forth­com­ing? John Rogers, by email.

I DRIVE down the A2 quite fre­quently, and have watched the new sec­tion near Gravesend be­ing built. I have also watched for months the old sec­tion be­ing ripped up and land­scaped. Why wasn’t that old sec­tion used for Op­er­a­tion Stack? There was about three miles of six-lane car­riage­way, com­plete with drainage, that could have eas­ily been adapted for park­ing trucks. It would also have saved mil­lions of pounds of tax­pay­ers’ money by not do­ing the land­scap­ing. But the main point is that it would have also saved the mil­lions of pounds that Kent County Coun­cil is go­ing to spend con­cret­ing over acres of farm­land at Ald­ing­ton. Mick Carr, Ken­ning­ton.

IT IS time that the so­called Ald­ing­ton lorry park was re­turned to its right­ful owner – the Dover Port Au­thor­ity. The re­al­ity is that the Port of Dover has grown enor­mously in strate­gic im­por­tance for Bri­tain, as pat­terns of trade have changed, but that so far lit­tle ef­fort has been ded­i­cated to build an ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture around the port. A proper in­quiry should be set up to de­cide on the fu­ture needs of the Port of Dover, with par­tic­u­lar em­pha­sis on in­fra­struc­ture. As part of this study, proper al­ter­na­tive sites should be pro­posed for the lorry park, and pros and cons sen­si­bly dis­cussed and eval­u­ated. There is no doubt that the best al­ter­na­tive site would be around the Port of Dover, on land where avail­able. Such a process would en­sure that a cob­bled and ad hoc ap­proach would be avoided. It would also help lay to rest ru­mours, cur­rently cir­cu­lat­ing in the com­mu­nity, that com­mer­cial in­ter­ests are be­hind the choice of the Ald­ing­ton site. S. Lec­chini, Ald­ing­ton.

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