Delayed review ends chance of M20 lorry park this year
County transport chiefs are expected to disclose details of where they want to set up a series of lorry parks within weeks, it has emerged.
It comes as a court hearing over plans for a huge lorry park off the M20 to deal with Operation Stack has been put back again – effectively ending any hope that part of it will be open for HGVs this year.
A judicial review planned for October has now been rescheduled for December.
The Department for Transport (DfT) had hoped that part of the site would be open this summer for short-term parking to ease the problem of lorries parking illegally on side streets and lay-bys.
The fresh delay will frustrate residents in the area who had been in negotiations with the DfT over whether they would be compensated for blight or have their homes compulsory purchased
Opponents of the 250-acre scheme, which would hold up to 3,600 lorries at a site near Hythe when Operation Stack is in place, believe that the government did not properly carry out a full envi- ronmental assessment.
Opponents also claim the scheme should be progressed through a Development Consent Order because it is a nationally significant development.
Highways England has previously said there is no requirement for planning permission as it has separate powers to ensure there is sufficient holding areas for HGVs.
In the meantime, Kent County Council has been drawing up plans for a series of possible sites that would be operated as commercial parks all-year-round.
It is understood three sites have been identified but their locations have been kept under wraps.
Council sources say they want to move ahead with their plans as soon as possible, as HGV traffic continues to grow and there is a chronic shortage of places for them to park.
HGVs queuing during Operation Stack