Decision on lorry park proposal deferred

HIGHWAYS chiefs today stressed that an A14 lorry park used by thousands of truckers travelling to Felixstowe port should only be used by passing traffic.

HIGHWAYS chiefs today stressed that an A14 lorry park used by thousands of truckers travelling to Felixstowe port should only be used by passing traffic.

Their concern is the Orwell Crossing at Nacton should not become “a destination in its own right” - attracting more people on to the already busy trunk road around the edge of Ipswich.

Councillors are perplexed at the ruling but believe part of the reason is the inadequate exit slip road.

Although originally used for a McDonald's and a petrol station, it is understood the exit is now too short by current standards for traffic to pick up speed to join the dual carriageway.

The Highways Agency though is concerned at plans to use part of the truck stop site as an operations centre for haulage firms, enabling them to use it as a secure base for storing their vehicles.

Although sympathetic, councillors were ordered by the agency to refuse the project - though they decided instead to defer it and host a meeting between the agency and site owner Karl Rout.

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A Highways Agency spokesman said: “The agency directed the council that planning permission should not be granted due to concerns that part of the Orwell Crossing Lorry Park would be used as a basis for business operations by the applicant.

“Use of the site as an operations centre would contradict the premise that the site is not used as a destination in its own right and would therefore require an application for a change of use of the site.

“Because the site can only be accessed from the A14 trunk road, the Highways Agency would be opposed to any application for change of use for this site.”

Mr Rout, of AE Rout and Sons, said seven licences had been agreed for 58 vehicles and 40 trailers to use the site as an operations centre. This would not interfere with its day-to-day work as a truck stop for drivers.

“If we are to remain a viable business we must continue to develop and provide what our customers need,” he said.

“We believe the operating centres do not need planning permission and there is no unauthorised use of the lorry park - the lorries at the operating centre will only be there at weekends and not during the week when they will be on the road.”

What do you think of the Orwell Crossing? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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