De­layed re­view ends chance of M20 lorry park this year

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points of view -

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.

Pic­ture: John Westhrop FM3943969

HGVs queu­ing dur­ing Op­er­a­tion Stack

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