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Snack bar faces the chop

PUBLISHED: 15:24 19 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:22 03 March 2010

FAVOURITE fry-ups for truckers could be the thing of the past if Ipswich Port has its way.

The Snack Box has been ordered off site by the end of March leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of truckers.

FAVOURITE fry-ups for truckers could be the thing of the past if Ipswich Port has its way.

The Snack Box has been ordered off site by the end of March leaving a bitter taste in the mouths of truckers.

Over 250 lorry drivers signed a petition in favour of owner Lorraine Barham keeping the business at the port.

The Snack Bar, bought by Lorraine in July last year, sells hot and cold food from a site at the West Bank Terminal.

But then 37-year-old mum of three was shocked to receive a letter from Associated British Ports, which owns Ipswich port, giving her notice to quit.

She told The Star: "I haven't even been given a reason. The attitude is "they are just lorry drivers."

"The thing is the dock staff, they can go home at night for a meal, but the lorry drivers can't.

"They know they can come here and have a meal – fresh curries and home made food.

"There is nowhere else on the dock for them to go. And if the ferry is late and they have to wait two or three hours they can come here for a coffee, stretch their legs and speak to other drivers.

"They can have pasta, curry, scampi. We also have chilli and jacket potato for just £1.30 – where else can you get that?

"The truckers are on their own all day trying to get to their destination in the time they are given.

"But there are road works, traffic jams and breakdowns so when they get to their destination, whether its on time or they are late, they need to have something to eat and a friendly chat. What are they going to have now? Nothing.

"That's what so unfair about it. There is nothing for the lorry drivers .

"This place has been here about 18 months in all and if I was to take this off-site, where am I supposed to keep it. In my back garden? I just haven't got the room.

"I am a single mum and was taking a big risk getting into this. Why give me permission to be here if they wanted to close it?"

Mrs Barham, from Nacton Road, Ipswich, received the letter from Associated British Ports, Ipswich, in January informing her of the decision, leaving her future uncertain.

It read: "I would be grateful if you could vacate the port's estate by Sunday, 31 March 2002, removing all property belonging to yourself." The reason it sited was: "operational requirements for the land."

Trucker John Piper, 40, from Hereford, who signed the petition, said: "This place has been here ages.

"It is good to know that you can come and eat here. It is right by the toilets and shower facilities.

"I probably used this about once or twice a week. There isn't anything else here. The food is good otherwise I wouldn't keep coming back here. There's also friendly staff."

Robert Smith, ABP's Ipswich port manager, said a reason was given to Mrs Barham and that The Snack Bar had to close in the interests of operational safety.

"We have had to make this decision – safety comes first," he said. "As the port has got busier there is more demand for space. More vehicles are using the port and The Snack Box presents safety hazard as drivers park up, causing congestion.

"There is no easy place to do that because the port is getting busier as we speak."

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