Inquiry begins over truck stop spat

A POPULAR truck stop on the A14 near Ipswich should be allowed to open to any motorists, a public inquiry was told today.The owners of the Orwell Crossing Truck Stop, near Nacton, are appealing against a restriction, which says they can only serve HGV drivers.

A POPULAR truck stop on the A14 near Ipswich should be allowed to open to any motorists, a public inquiry was told today.

The owners of the Orwell Crossing Truck Stop, near Nacton, are appealing against a restriction, which says they can only serve HGV drivers.

Douglas Edwards, for the truck stop, told a public inquiry which opened in Rushmere St Andrew that it was very difficult to exclude other drivers from the truck stop, and traffic using the site did not cause a major problem on the A14.

He pointed out that until the end of last year there was also a McDonald's restaurant on the site, which was open to all travellers.

Ian de Prez, representing Suffolk Coastal Council which imposed the conditions at the request of the government's Highways Agency said planning authorities were anxious to avoid the truck stop becoming a destination in its own right.

Ian Buley, for the Highways Agency, told the inquiry there were fears that if there were no restrictions on its use the Orwell Crossing could become a destination for people from a long distance, encouraging even more people to use the A14.

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The first witness at the inquiry was Tony Allen for the Eastern Region of Truckwatch, an organisation which represents hauliers and the police.

He said secure truck stops like the Orwell Crossing were vital to improve security for lorry drivers. However it was vital that these truck stops should also offer other services.

He said: “Truck stops are used heavily four nights a week from Monday night to Thursday, but like modern day coaching inns they also have to serve other customers. That is why we support this application.”

Regular Orwell Crossing user Lisa Last told the inquiry it was ridiculous to worry about the amount of traffic heading towards the truck stop when the A14 was regularly congested by other events such as the Suffolk Show or other people heading to Felixstowe.

She said: “No one was worried when people were going to a filling station there or McDonalds. Why didn't they try to restrict people going to McDonalds if it was such a problem.”

The inquiry continues.

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