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Councillor criticises police over traffic chaos on A20 over Christmas

A town councillor has described a response from the police as a “cop out” after reporting the lack of traffic control on Dover’s A20.

Cllr Pat Sherratt, who represents Dover’s Castle ward, disembarked from a ferry on the Friday before Christmas and entered a town full of traffic “chaos”.

The A20 was jam-packed with lorries and cars and residents were warned to avoid the area.

Archive scene of Dover-bound traffic stuck along the A20. Picture: Paul Wells
Archive scene of Dover-bound traffic stuck along the A20. Picture: Paul Wells

Cllr Sherratt took it upon himself to divert some lorries to allow some of the blocked cars to move.

In a letter addressed to Ch Insp Stephen Barlow, he said: “I know I should not have done so but I managed to direct one lorry to pull into Woolcomber Street, releasing space, this was immediately taken by another.

“With this someone else assisted and we managed to create a small gap for vehicles to access Townwall Street from Woolcomber Street.”

The Port of Dover
The Port of Dover

After the incident, the councillor reported his concerns to the police. He said that a response was left on his answer machine saying the congestion was due to it being the last weekend before Christmas and the sudden rush of travellers heading to Europe.

He added: “This is the biggest cop out I have heard. What are Kent Traffic Police doing? As usual nothing while Dover grinds to a halt.

“With 9.3% of our council tax allocated to Kent Police we should expect them to provide the service and not pass the buck.”

Ch Insp Barlow, who is Dover district police commander, said: “The traffic issues caused by the record volumes using cross-Channel services at the end of last week had a significant impact on local people and businesses.

“Kent Police received five calls from the public between Friday and Saturday about lorries blocking the entrance at roundabout junctions. On those occasions Port of Dover Police officers had been deployed to manage the situation.

“Unfortunately, there is no ‘quick fix’ or easy solution to this. Kent Police will assist whenever, and where it can, but demands on both local and roads policing teams were also extremely high, with it being the weekend before Christmas. We will continue to work with the Port of Dover police and other agencies on longer-term resolutions.”

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