Petrol station and house hit by lightning
Significant drop in lorries parking illegally overnight
The number of lorries parking illegally across Ashford at night has reduced significantly.
New figures by Ashford Borough Council reveal that the number of HGVs parking in the town each night has dropped from hundreds to lower than 10 since April, when a new clamping scheme was launched.
As part of the six-month pilot, traffic wardens patrol the lorry blackspots during the weekday evenings and Sunday mornings.
A report released ahead of next week’s Joint Transportation Board meeting, in which the scheme will be discussed, reveals that the number of vehicles parking at Sevington, Orbital Park and Henwood estate has dramatically reduced.
It says: “The overall numbers of HGVs parking overnight in the three target areas are still down on the numbers that were parking prior to the trial although 100% compliance has yet to be achieved.”
In March this year, two weeks before the trial started, 109 lorries were counted across the three business parks, including 49 in Henwood.
However, the latest figures available, for the morning of Sunday, August 16, show that only five lorries were spotted in the three estates – three at Orbital and two at Sevington.
One of the lorries parked at Orbital was clamped that day as the driver had “numerous outstanding fines”.
The driver paid for six of the fines and the clamp was released.
The report adds that new rules have also been brought in to stop drivers parking on footpaths.
It says: “A persistent problem and regularly complained about, in particular in Ellingham Way and Wootton Road, is that HGVs park on the footpath.
“In the past we have been unable to deal with this and relied on the police to assist using their powers relating to obstruction and driving on the footpath.”
However, from last month, wardens can now issue formal notices and fines to HGVs caught parking on the side of roads.
The report continues: “This is not directly linked to the clamping trail. It is however another tool in our toolbox that will allow us to address the wider problems caused by HGV parking.”
But the report also acknowledges problems with displacing lorry parking from one part of Ashford to another, adding: “So far as previously mentioned displacement into residential areas has not happened apart from the rare and occasional reported incident.
“We have established that more HGVs are now parking at Cobbs Wood Industrial estate.
“We are able to measure this as this is an area we regularly checked before the clamping trial began.
“We have recently noticed that this is the location where some of our persistent evaders have relocated to.”
The scheme will be discussed at a meeting at the Civic Centre on Tuesday.
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The threat of penalty charges and clamping has seen a big drop in the number of foreign lorries illegally parked up across Ashford