Lorry park de­lays will add to Brexit chaos

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - Be­hind the scenes at County Hall with our Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor Paul Fran­cis

Awarn­ing that Kent might see al­most per­ma­nent grid­lock on its road net­work and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of Op­er­a­tion Stack af­ter Brexit might sound un­nec­es­sar­ily alarm­ing. But there gen­uinely does seem to be an is­sue about the length of time needed to carry out cus­toms checks and buried in the re­port is a claim that the fail­ure to de­velop other lorry parks in the county to ease the sit­u­a­tion is a con­trib­u­tory fac­tor.

Kent County Coun­cil has, of course, been in pro­tracted ne­go­ti­a­tions over ac­quir­ing sites for a se­ries of smaller round-the-clock lorry parks to ad­dress the other is­sue of res­i­den­tial roads be­ing used by hauliers for overnight park­ing.

While we have been promised sev­eral times in re­cent months that an an­nounce­ment is im­mi­nent from County Hall about where they are, to date there has been a deaf­en­ing si­lence.

At this rate, it could be a tough chal­lenge to get any ad­di­tional parks open by March 2019 – es­pe­cially if they re­quire plan­ning per­mis­sion – let alone the huge one for 3,600 lor­ries planned for a site off the M20 near Folke­stone.

The Kent MP Rosie Duffield isn’t the first Labour politi­cian to be chas­tised over their po­si­tion on gram­mar schools and won’t be the last.

The Can­ter­bury MP has found her­self hav­ing to de­fend send­ing her chil­dren to se­lec­tive schools at the same time as de­scrib­ing the 11-plus sys­tem as hor­ri­ble and di­vi­sive.

The stan­dard re­sponse has come from the Con­ser­va­tives who have been quick to cry dou­ble stan­dards – although she made de­ci­sions be­fore be­com­ing an MP.

Her crit­ics have a point but so does she. If you hap­pen to live within a se­lec­tive area and your chil­dren pass the 11-plus then what – as a par­ent – are you to do?

De­prive your chil­dren of a place at a school they wish to go to on the grounds that you per­son­ally are against the sys­tem? Up­root and move to a non-se­lec­tive area to up­hold your prin­ci­pled po­si­tion re­gard­less of the im­pact on your fam­ily or work?

It could be ar­gued that if you plan on be­com­ing a pub­lic fig­ure, then th­ese are the ques­tions you need to think of be­fore do­ing so.

But as with most things to do with se­lec­tive school­ing, things can be more com­pli­cated than they first ap­pear.

‘Her crit­ics have a point but so does she. If you hap­pen to live within a se­lec­tive area and your chil­dren pass the 11-plus then what – as a par­ent – are you to do? ’

Off The Record has come across some odd Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quests over the years. To add to the list of odd­i­ties is a re­cent one to the county coun­cil ask­ing it to pro­vide the name of the art teacher at Gravesend Tech­ni­cal School in….1958.

Fol­low Paul on Twit­ter @Paul On Pol­i­tics and watch our reg­u­lar TV show “Paul On Pol­i­tics” on KMTV.

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