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Mersham jammed with lost truck drivers heading for Ashford lorry park as monitor system removed


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A quiet village is once again being jammed by lost truck drivers as a council monitoring scheme ends.

Mersham is sited a mile away from the Sevington Inland Border Facility (IBF) in Ashford, which was constructed to cope with increased haulage checks after Brexit.

The junction into Mersham village from the A20 had been monitored constantly until this week
The junction into Mersham village from the A20 had been monitored constantly until this week

Within days of the IBF opening, lorries were getting stuck throughout the village and tearing up turf as they tried to manoeuvre out.

Partially responsible was the fact the lorry park didn't have a dedicated postcode, so drivers were being directed to Mersham by sat-nav.

Following an outcry from inconvenienced residents, more signage was erected at J10A of the M20.

However this proved to be ineffective to the point where Kent County Council created a 24/7 monitoring system outside the village in early April.

Officers were stationed in a car at the A20 entrance to Mersham to redirect any stray lorries, which seemed to stem the issue for a time.

A hapless lorry driver was spotted in a tricky position on Tuesday. Picture: Maxine Smith
A hapless lorry driver was spotted in a tricky position on Tuesday. Picture: Maxine Smith

But now KCC has confirmed the monitoring system has ended, and reports of stuck lorries have ballooned again.

Pictures have started being posted on the Mersham Facebook group of trucks in precarious positions.

Resident Sharon Swandale got so annoyed with the issue that she's come up with a partial solution.

She said: "Considering the government gave out two postcodes, neither of which are unique to the IBF, I have updated as many haulier sites as possible with the What3Words location."

Ironically, the What3Words code for the spot is escape.transit.matter.

Yesterday morning saw a truck driver have to reverse out of Mersham with the assistance of a resident. Picture: Stewart Ross
Yesterday morning saw a truck driver have to reverse out of Mersham with the assistance of a resident. Picture: Stewart Ross

Another homeowner said that efforts to curb the trucks' entry has actually resulted in more inconvenience for those living there.

Jade Collins said: "Putting cones on the slip road into Mersham off the A20 clearly isn't stopping lorries coming in, it just makes it dodgy for us in cars to turn in as it's a very abrupt corner now."

When asked about this week's resurgence in troublesome trucks, a KCC spokesman said: "We understand residents’ frustrations and we are working closely with the parish and local county councillor to deal with the issue.

“We no longer have a 24/7 officer on site, but have added more signs directing HGVs to where they should be going.

Cllr Paul Bartlett confirmed the DfT had discussed the recent rise with councillors, and praised efforts to solve it
Cllr Paul Bartlett confirmed the DfT had discussed the recent rise with councillors, and praised efforts to solve it

“Highways England is due to install permanent signing on the M20 and the DfT is ensuring the postcode for the site is available on Google and sat navs.”

With the recent rise in lorries mistakenly entering Mersham, councillors met with DfT representatives on Tuesday and agreed that efforts will be made to contact hauliers to find out why they are using incorrect routes.

Cllr Paul Bartlett said: "Reports should be made to www.ashford.gov.uk/Brexit with photos of errant lorries so they can be tracked down and spoken to by officials.

"Councillors were told of efforts to support the work of KCC to deal with this and felt they had done their utmost to resolve the situation as quickly as possible."

Cllr Bartlett highlighted the fact that a monitor remains in place at the junction of Church Road and the A2070, which leads to Sevington

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