The boss of one of the UK’s largest transportation firms has questioned a plan to close a well-used lorry park and replace it with fewer spaces at a new motorway service station.
Ken Devereux, whose firm employs nearly 170 staff and has a fleet of 90 tractor units, 20 rigid trucks and in excess of 260 trailers, said calls for Richmondshire District Council to conduct a thorough examination as to the need, possible improvement or the consequences of removing the facility at Colburn were “very sensible”.
The call came as the authority announced it had postponed a decision upon whether to sell the site off Catterick Road, which can accommodate in excess of 50 lorries a night, to Colburn Town Council for just £7,000 on the condition that it is only used for a community-related purpose, such as a skate park.
The town council wants to close the lorry park following complaints about it being used as an open toilet. There are mounting concerns over the lack of lorry parking spaces in North Yorkshire and the town council has said the Colburn closure would only be after Roadchef opened a proposed 40-space HGV park beside junction 52 of the A1(M).
The sale was set to be considered by the council’s Corporate Board, chaired by the authority’s leader, Councillor Angie Dale, who is also chairman of Colburn Town Council.
A district council spokeswoman said the full council would consider the plan in December.
She added: “It has been decided that because it is a significant asset of the council, all members should be able to debate it and make the decision on whether to accept a lower valuation for community purposes.”
While Richmondshire council says the lorry park had operated for a number of years with the initial intent of “providing parking for lorry drivers local to the area”, Mr Devereux said lorry park provision must be for visiting vehicles as any local vehicles should be positioned within the transport operators’ designated parking facility.
He added: “Motorway services are fine for lorry drivers taking statutory mid-shift breaks, but are not ideal for overnight parking as all trucks are placed in one area and drivers having 45-minute breaks and drivers overnighting are all parked together so an unbroken overnight rest is unlikely.
“It’s why in France and Germany you see specific areas along their motorways for resting trucks and it’s why you find trucks overnighting in industrial estates that are quiet at night.”
He said there was a greater need for overnight lorry parking spaces in the region as it is not in the middle of the country, meaning many drivers can’t make it home in a working shift.
Mr Devereux said: “Truck drivers have like many other workers been working right through the lockdown period, often being unable to obtain hot food from their normal sources which have been closed. Yet they have continued to deliver and collect goods in areas such as the North-East for consumption and use by the people of the North-East, even local Richmondshire councillors.”
The Road Haulage Association is campaigning for all large-scale commercial developments to have truck parking provision included as a requirement of the permission to develop, something Mr Devereux says Richmondshire councillors should be advocating.