Home Kent News Dover lorry park delayed as government yet to grant itself planning permission

Dover lorry park delayed as government yet to grant itself planning permission

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Original article from Kent Live

Plans for a massive lorry park just outside Dover have been pushed back until 2022.

The new Inland Border Facility, which would carry out new customs and tariff checks required after leaving the European Union, was originally scheduled to open in July this year.

The Department for Transport confirmed the opening date had been pushed back to at least 2022.

Read more: KCC will no longer look after asylum seeker children

It cited the Government’s decision to postpone full import checks on goods arriving from the EU until next year.

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But this week the Government also failed to say if it's still proceeding with the Dover site at all.

There have been no signs of construction activity on the 27 acres fields opposite the B&Q store near Guston.

The Department for Transport (DfT) told MyDover they are waiting for planning permission.

But they don't need permission from the local district council.

Approval can come from a Special Development Order thanks to emergency Brexit legislation.

It means all Goverment ministers have to do is sign off on the final design.

DfT are therefore effectively waiting on their own ministers to make a decision.

The Dover plans are understood to have undergone several changes already, after local residents and councils piled in with their views.

Asked this week if they still planned to proceed with the Dover site, a DfT spokesperson only said: “Our priority is guaranteeing that we have the right infrastructure in place that will allow us to carry out the necessary checks vital to keep trade flowing smoothly.”

A similar lorry park in Ashford recently made headlines after neighbouring residents said it was as bright as Wembley Stadium.

The floodlights can be seen from neighbouring towns in spite of the park's remote location.

Residents in villages miles from the Sevington facility reportedly claimed to be able to see lights there.

There has been no construction activity reported in Guston yet.

Any that does happen is likely to take several months.

Back in March, Kent County Council said it would carry out the construction work if plans went ahead.

Local residents claim the floodlights used to illuminate the site at night have ruined the night sky and become intrusive.

It said the proposal includes "the provision of security measures, vehicle inspection bays and any necessary alterations to the local road network".

Dover District Council has said it would only support the plans if it received reassurances from DfT on mitigation, including improving the surrounding roads, avoiding disturbing an ancient Roman way, and residents’ concerns about pollution and shielding their properties.

A key point of contention was the decision to locate the lorry park down the A2/M2 corridor.

The strategy for years has been for millions of lorries to use the A20/M20 corridor.

On the A2 side, the carriageway is still single lane between Lydden and Dover.

Meanwhile the Whitfield Roundabout along the A2 is known to suffer from heavy congestion already.

“Without major mitigation it was the council’s view that the proposal would be unacceptable to residents and businesses in the district,” Dover District Council said in a previous statement.

Original Article