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Lorries from Church and Dwight factory in Folkestone 'ruining lives' of neighbours

Residents claim lorries constantly arriving and leaving a factory are blighting their lives and causing damage to their homes.

Neighbours in Wear Bay Road next to the Church and Dwight factory in Folkestone say they believe the operations at the site have become too big.

They also say they believe the site is being used outside of the permitted hours including on a Sunday and late at night.

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Lorries near to Mr Hughes's home
Lorries near to Mr Hughes's home

But this has been denied by both Church and Dwight and Shepway District Council, which enforces the planning conditions for the site in Bowles Well
Gardens, saying they operate within the legal restrictions.

Ray Hughes, 78, has lived in Wear Bay Road, at the corner with Bowles Well Gardens for more than 50 years.

VIDEO: Residents claim the lorries are causing damage to their homes.

He says he thinks operations are increasing and more lorries are arriving and leaving the site every day.

He wants the council to look into reducing the number of lorries being able to access the site.

“Now I’ve retired it’s having quite an impact on me. Church and Dwight has got bigger and bigger and it’s increasing every day and when is it going to stop?”

Cllr Mary Lawes with residents Bernie Tutt and Ray Hughes
Cllr Mary Lawes with residents Bernie Tutt and Ray Hughes

He claims the council has been ignoring his concerns about the enforced operating hours of 7am-8pm between Mondays and Saturdays and no operations on a Sunday not being followed.

However, there are no operating restrictions on one of the units and as conditions apply to individual units and not the whole site, vehicles may still enter and leave the site, Shepway council confirmed.

Mr Hughes added: “They say which unit are they going to? How can I say? I can’t get down there and go through their buildings. That’s the council’s job to investigate it.”

Bernie Tutt, 69, who lives on the opposite corner, added: “I’ve got nothing against people working in a factory, people need to earn a living. But it is the lorries.

“The recommendations are there for a reason because it’s a residential area. It was residential before it was industrial. There’s only one entrance and exit. It’s outgrown the site.”

Ward councillor Mary Lawes said: “These homes and residents were here long before Church and Dwight. While I appreciate we need business to be able to operate properly, restrictions are there to protect everyone including residents."

Mr Hughes claims a lorry rumbled past his house at 3am one night last November, causing vibrations which resulted in the toilet cistern cracking and flooding the downstairs of the house.

Mr Tutt said: “The lorries since I’ve moved here [in November 2013] have increased obviously due to the production of the factory. I’ve had a lorry at 11.45pm which was vibrating my bungalow and has cracked my ceilings.

“They do seem to run at any time they feel like whereas there should be this restriction of times. We’re talking 24/7 which is Saturdays and Sundays. I believe that we should be allowed a bit of quiet time.”

The Church and Dwight factory in Folkestone
The Church and Dwight factory in Folkestone

The company has apologised for the “dissatisfaction” of their neighbours but reassured them they are “completely compliant with all the regulations” put in place for the site.

Rob Dancy, the European operations director at Church & Dwight UK Ltd, said: “There have been no records of any increased movement of vehicles to and from our site over the last 18 months but we would like to reassure residents that this is something that we are very conscious of and are constantly monitoring and taking steps to improve.

“We have invested heavily in the site to improve both production as well as the movement of vehicles. “This has reduced the amount of vehicles moving across the site in the last year and this will continue to be reduced even more by the end of this year.

“We regularly send letters to our suppliers reconfirming our opening hours for deliveries and request that they do not park vehicles or wait along the public roads outside of these hours.”

He reaffirmed the company was committed to being a positive part of the community, adding: “We work closely with the council and have an open dialogue with local residents to discuss and address any potential issues.”

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