Published: 00:01, 01 March 2019
| Updated: 10:10, 01 March 2019
Fed-up business owners say a lorry clamping trial in Ashford is causing HGV drivers to swarm to an industrial estate in Canterbury.
Dozens of lorries pitch up every night in Wincheap, with drivers blocking business entrances and snarling up the road network.
The city council says it is keeping a "close eye" on the neighbouring district’s trial, but disgruntled traders are calling on the authority to crack the whip.
Owner of Autocare, Norman Woodgate, said: “We have counted 29 lorries at one point.
"I saw a woman get out of the cab to go and squat - it just sums up the driver’s mentality.
"Wardens give them parking tickets but they don’t pay them, they aren’t worried. Everyone on the estate is fed up.
"People have had arguments with them as they are blocking drives - everybody is struggling.
“If the council can do clamping in Ashford, why not here? Even if just for one weekend, it would stamp out the parking as the message would go out.”
Varying parts of the Wincheap Industrial Estate are subject to overnight parking bans, double yellow lines and weight restrictions for stationary vehicles, but the rules are continually ignored.
Ashford’s 18-month trial, which resulted in almost 2,000 lorries being clamped in the first year, has divided opinion but has stopped drivers from parking where they are not wanted.
Lorry drivers have branded the UK-first scheme "ludicrous", claiming they are being robbed of a compulsory 11-hour break.
If clamped, truckers have to pay a £150 release fee.
Manager of Canterbury Beds, Bob Brenchley, says traffic lights may even need to be introduced to help traffic manoeuvre around the parked HGVs in Wincheap.
“The estate is fast becoming the place to be if you have an artic and the weekend free,” he said.
“With ample parking, free overnight accommodation and no chance of being moved on you can spend a lovely weekend in the beautiful city of Canterbury.
"If you get bored of the sights you can always retire back to your accommodation and rustle up a barbecue.
"The signs stating no parking for vehicles over five tonnes are ignored.
"The situation is hampering businesses to trade to their full potential, is creating dangerous driving conditions and is most likely to get worse" - Bob Brenchley
“The situation is hampering businesses to trade to their full potential, is creating dangerous driving conditions and is most likely to get worse.
"With Brexit on top of us there is potential for it to become overwhelming. Fines need to be implemented and the law enforced.
“The drivers are not waiting to unload to businesses on the estate, they are foreign drivers waiting to go to Dover for the Monday morning crossing.”
City council spokesman Rob Davies says the authority will try its hardest to combat illegal overnight parking.
“Lorry parking is an issue across Kent and we are keeping a close eye on the trial in Ashford to see what impact it has and whether something similar could work here,"he told KentOnline.
"We understand the concerns of businesses on the Wincheap estate, and enforcement work in this area of the city is a priority for us.
"Our officers visit regularly to enforce the yellow lines and the parking ban and will continue to do so."