Lorry park told to shut over safety concerns
Closure to come despite councillors’ sympathy for owners Exclusive
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’
Airport Cafe owner Pat Breen