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Unauthorised lorry park at Coombe Valley Road, Dover, to close on December 8

By Sam Lennon

An unauthorised lorry park in a neighbourhood blighted by truck nuisance is to be shut down by next month.

But the councillor who revealed this has questioned why Dover has not been given powers to clamp lorries as nearby Ashford just had.

Kevin Mills, Dover district councillor for the St Radigund’s ward, said: “How come Ashford has managed to clamp? We’ve never even been consulted on this.”

General scene of lorry parking in St Radigund's
General scene of lorry parking in St Radigund's

The unauthorised parking area, at the former gasworks at Coombe Valley Road, has to close by Friday, December 8, following action by Dover District Council.

Cllr Mills revealed this at a St Radigund’s Residents’ Association meeting.

That same evening illegally parked lorries were clamped in the Ashford area in a joint venture by Kent County Council and Ashford Borough Council.

The clamp could be fitted for first time offences and drivers were also fined.

Cllr Sue Jones
Cllr Sue Jones

Fellow ward councillor Sue Jones warned that after the ban at Coombe Valley Road there would still be a problem of lorry drivers trying to find parking spaces.

She said: “There will be more lorries in the Christmas run-up and there would be about 40 to 50 lorry drivers looking for spaces to park.”

The St Radigund’s ward has had a continual problem of nuisance lorry parking and last month Cllr Jones had written a letter to the Mercury complaining of rogue truckers leaving litter, urinating in the street and drinking before driving.

The unauthorised and fenced-off lorry park at Coombe Valley Road
The unauthorised and fenced-off lorry park at Coombe Valley Road

Dover District Council worked for nearly 18 months to close the unauthorised lorry park.

It had issued an enforcement notice to shut it down in July 2016 but that was appealed against.

On June 8 this year the Planning Inspectorate upheld the notice but extended the closure time from three months to six, meaning it now has to close by December 8.

Inspector Stephen Brown said in his report that there was no planning permission and the site did not have lawful use.

He said: “There are concerns about engine noise, braking noise, vibration, headlights and exhaust fumes.”

He said he had learned there were lorry movements even in the early hours.

A DDC spokesman said: “We are aware of residents’ concerns about lorries parking on the site of the former gas works in Coombe Valley Road.

“The land does not have permission for use as a lorry park.”

The district council says its also liaising over having a lorry clamping scheme in the Dover area.

The spokesman explained: “As the Highways Authority, KCC has the authority to clamp vehicles, and they can delegate this to districts and boroughs.

“They have done this in Ashford for a pilot scheme.

“We are liaising with KCC over the possibility of expanding this scheme into the Dover district, and we are waiting for feedback on the effects of the pilot.

“We continue to work with partner agencies to address issues around lorry parking, and we continue to patrol district-wide and to issue penalty charge notices where appropriate.”

For the full story see tomorrow's Dover Mercury.

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