Green light for Manston lor­ries

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - What’s On - By Paul Fran­cis

The gov­ern­ment has used emer­gency plan­ning pow­ers to give the green light to a tem­po­rary lorry park at Manston.

An or­der laid be­fore par­lia­ment last week grants tem­po­rary plan­ning per­mis­sion for nine months, al­low­ing the 800acre site in Thanet to hold hun­dreds of HGVs when Op­er­a­tion Stack is in place.

The Depart­ment for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment ac­knowl­edged it had been un­able to hold a public con­sul­ta­tion on the emer­gency lorry park plan but had car­ried out “tar­geted con­sul­ta­tion with stake­hold­ers”.

These in­cluded the En­vi­ron­ment Agency, Kent County Coun­cil and the Highways Agency.

There has been crit­i­cism of the de­ci­sion to use Manston as a re­lief lorry park, with North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale de­scrib­ing it as “in­sane”.

The emer­gency or­der re­places one that was im­ple­mented when work got un­der way last month pre­par­ing the air­field to ac­com­mo­date lor­ries. That was for just 28 days and has now run out.

A mem­o­ran­dum on the new or­der states: “The site pro­vides sig­nif­i­cant ca­pac­ity, al­lows for con­trol and man­age­ment of the traf­fic flow, op­por­tu­ni­ties for sep­a­ra­tion of port and tun­nel traf­fic and has the po­ten­tial to ease con­ges­tion on the M20.”

Work pre­par­ing the site be­gan last month. The air­field has been equipped with flood­light­ing and lines have been painted for spa­ces, while cater­ers, round-the­clock se­cu­rity staff and park­ing mar­shals have been con­tracted.

Toi­lets and shower blocks have also been put on the site.

The long pe­riod of dis­rup­tion caused by a record-break­ing 24 days of Op­er­a­tion Stack in the sum­mer came to an end at the end of July and Manston has yet to be used.

Pic­ture: Gary Browne FM3998122

Chris and Su Bai­ley at Right Track Mu­sic in Ash­ford are part of the Small Busi­ness Satur­day 100

Manston will be used to ease Op­er­a­tion Stack con­ges­tion

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