Lorry park told to shut over safety con­cerns

Clo­sure to come de­spite coun­cil­lors’ sym­pa­thy for own­ers Ex­clu­sive

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Housing Conversion - By Vic­to­ria Ches­sum

A lorry park that had been run­ning with­out plan­ning per­mis­sion f or t wo years has been given days to cease op­er­a­tion.

The site at Ot­ter­pool Quarry in Ash­ford Road, Sellindge, has ac­com­mo­dated an “over­spill” of lor­ries since sum­mer 2015 – the last time Op­er­a­tion Stack was im­ple­mented.

But plan­ners at Shep­way Dis­trict Coun­cil voted eight to one to get the site closed down over “safety fears”, with the re­port say­ing the park was in a dan­ger­ous po­si­tion.

One of the main con­cerns was the lor­ries turn­ing into the vil­lage of Sellindge and the nar­row na­ture of the road mean­ing that the trucks strug­gle to ma­noeu­vre out of the junc­tion.

But at the meet­ing on Tues­day evening, many coun­cil­lors sym­pa­thised with the own­ers of the Air­port Cafe op­po­site, Pat and Julie Breen, who had made the ap­pli­ca­tion.

When per­mis­sion was re­fused it was warned that the cen­tre of the vil­lage, about a mile away, would en­counter “fly-park­ing” truck­ers who will look for lay-bys to park in when the quarry stops tak­ing them in.

The meet­ing heard that res­i­dents’ qual­ity of life was be­ing com­pro­mised by lor­ries thun­der­ing past their homes at an­ti­so­cial hours.

A spokesman for Sellindge Parish Coun­cil said: “Mem­bers of this com­mit­tee be­lieve the use of this site for park­ing lor­ries is mak­ing res­i­dents’ life un­bear­able.” Mr Breen pre­dicted that the park’s clo­sure would mean chaos for all of Kent.

Af­ter the meet­ing he said: “What can I say? The prob­lem isn’t ours any more and I do feel sorry for the res­i­dents of Sellindge.

“Our lor­ries are in the park by 9pm to 9.30pm and then they have a nine-hour break.

“I am more con­cerned about the staff who have done the best job they can do to con­trol the site and keep it clean and tidy.

“But we will not be con­trol­ling it any more.”

Mrs Breen said: “We pro­vided a fa­cil­ity that was much needed in this area.

“It is not go­ing to stop (lor­ries en­ter­ing the vil­lage) by clos­ing the site, I feel.”

The mem­bers voted in favour of the site clos­ing, with no­tice given in 14 days.

‘The prob­lem isn’t ours any more and I do feel sorry for the res­i­dents of Sellindge’

Pic­ture: Tony Flash­man FM4753141

Air­port Cafe owner Pat Breen

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