The Cheriton High Street layby opposite Tesco's has recently been "spruced up" following many complaints from Cheriton Town Councillor Tim Prater and local residents. Kent County Council have also now confirmed that there is a plan to deal with the issue permanently in this financial year.
An email to Tim Prater from Matthew Sims at Kent Highway Services says:
"We are preparing a scheme that will not only deter lorry parking but will improve the egress and access from the Cheriton Road to Tesco. It is planned that this will be constructed this financial year."
However, Kent have refused to make any temporary changes prior the full scheme being implemented, saying "in the meantime we are not planning to spend money on the area unless there is a safety issue". Neither Kent or Shepway have agreed to commit to trying to reduce lorry parking before the proposed road re-modelling scheme is introduced - which may still be months away.
Tim Prater has repeatedly requested a low cost temporary solution of painting car parking bays in that area and erecting "No lorry parking signs" similar to those found elsewhere in Shepway.
Tim Prater said:
"Local residents have heard the same story from Kent before - there is a plan, but we can't tell you when it'll be implemented. For those whose homes are blighted by lorry and generator noise, it's not good enough. For the cost of some paint and signs, we could get a real solution for the lorry parking problem - I've even offered to find the cost of the paint and signs!"
Tim has also continued to investigate other potential lorry parking solutions to reduce the problem by offering lorry drivers affordable, suitable, legal parking. He has written to Eurotunnel and also to Henry Boot Developments, who are developing the new Service Area at Junction 11 on the M20.
Henry Boot have revealed that although their current plans only allow for a tiny 18 lorry park at the new Service station development, there are proposals for a much larger lorry park at junction 11. With 4 more acres of land in their ownership (outside the current service station area), they would be willing to look at being involved in developing a lorry park here.
Tim Prater commented:
"There have been reports commissioned showing there is a chronic shortage of lorry parking across Kent, which will be made even worse when the Ashford Lorry Park closes in the next year or so. Although we must fight lorry parking in unsuitable places - like Cheriton High Street - we do need to ensure that lorry drivers get a fair deal too.
"We need to look at new parks to deal with this problem, so that lorry drivers have affordable, legal, safe parking facilities. I'm pleased that new M20 facility locations are being looked at. There are clearly important issues to be looked at - including protecting important environmental areas - but I hope all concerned can look at these, and other, proposals constructively."