THE site of the former Night Owl truck stop beside the A14 spur at Alconbury will not be allowed a change of use as long as the demand for overnight lorry parking remains in the A14 corridor, Huntingdonshire District Council says. Stricter rules of driver
THE site of the former Night Owl truck stop beside the A14 spur at Alconbury will not be allowed a change of use as long as the demand for overnight lorry parking remains in the A14 corridor, Huntingdonshire District Council says.
Stricter rules of drivers' permitted hours, combined with the closure of many lay-bys on the A14 for road safety reasons, have resulted in seeking out residential areas near main roads to park up overnight.
This is not yet a problem in Huntingdonshire, said HDC's transportation team leader Stuart Bell, but it has become a source of serious nuisance at Bar Hall in South Cambridgeshire.
A council working group that has been looking at the issue has concluded that HDC should urge Cambridgeshire County Council to set up a forum, including local authorities, MPs, police and truck operators to lobby Government, and that HDC should seek to influence the development of suitable HGV parking opportunities adjacent to trunk roads in the district.
The Department for Transport and Highways Agency is looking at the problem nationally with a view to identifying the level of demand geographically, but no date has been set for publication of the study, a letter from Ministers to South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley implies.
But the group said DfT regards HGV parking as a purely commercial venture, although operators are unwilling to pay more than a minimum even for a well-sited quality truck stop.
The group of four councillors concluded that there was little Huntingdonshire could do in isolation, but said growing traffic volumes would make the problem worse.
Members had been told that there were early-stage discussions about asking the Costain-Skanska joint venture, which is designing the £940million A14 improvements between Ellington and Fen Ditton, to look in parallel at the opportunity for lorry parking.
"There are other lorry parks along the A14, and not just in this district," Mr Bell told The Hunts Post. The owners of Cambridge Services at Swavesey and the Brampton Hut campus might want to talk to planners about expanding their facilities, but there had been no approach to HDC from Brampton.
Could facilities emerge alongside the old A14 after the new Huntingdon southern bypass is built and the old road de-trunked? It would be up to landowners to apply, if they wanted to, and Government rules on signage and distance from trunk roads would have to be modified, Mr Bell said.
"But it should not be taken that the old A14 and its lay-bys will fill up with lorries, because the road safety issues won't go away.