Plans for a 200 HGV park near the M26 in Wrotham, Kent were rejected by councillors at Tunbridge & Malling Borough council yesterday.
Moto’s plans for a service station and lorry park received 19 official objection comments from local residents and councillors last autumn.
Among the reasons for shelving the plan were “a significant adverse loss of spatial and visual openness” and encroachment into the countryside. Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council Leader Matt Boughton thanked his fellow councillors when the plans were turned down.
He said “The application for a large HGV parking facility by Junction 2a of the M26 in Wrotham Heath has today been rejected by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council. This would have involved a new access on to the A20 and 200 parking spaces for HGVs, as well as the service building. It would have hugely changed the character of the area.”
there are no very special circumstances which exist to justify the encroachment into the Greenbelt
The planning statement also contained details regarding a failed 1992 planning application for a service station that was to be located in a very similar area. The 1992 application was rejected on the basis the service station would be an “inappropriate development in the Green Belt causing adverse harm to the open character of the area and detrimental harm to the Special Landscape Area.”
Objection statements attached to the planning application showed some residents proposed the lorry park should be built at Blue Bell Hill instead. Others simply said that the proposed location was unsuitable, with most of the objection comments containing complaints about a truck stop creating excess traffic, noise, pollution and mess.
There were also concerns about the plans themselves, with inadequate space being left for HGVs to turn when the site was busy.
Needless to say, a number of lorry drivers desperate for more HGV parking capacity in Kent are less than happy by the decision.
One said “obviously houses are far more important than us truck drivers“.