A proposal to use land at Ramsgate Port for a ‘temporary’ truck and coach park is likely to be approved next week.
The planning application, made by Thanet council’s harbour master Rob Brown, is for the fenced in area, previously used to park HGV’s which were either waiting to be shipped from or had arrived into Ramsgate by ferry, to become a 90-space truck park for a period of two years.
The area is approximately 3.02 acres and was last in use by TransEuropa Ferries in 2013 for HGV parking before the company went bankrupt.
There is space for some ninety, 44 tonne HGV trucks. The site was used for vehicle parking from 1998 – 2013. Before that it was car assembly lanes for cross Channel passenger ferries.
Between January 2016 and January 2017 the site was used to store new cars that had arrived by sea as a result of a deal with transport and logistics company GEFCO UK Ltd.
Councillors on Thanet’s planning committee will discuss the plans at a meeting next Wednesday (January 17).
In a report to councillors it states: “The information submitted to support the application highlights that the proposal be a complimentary land based facility at the port. It goes onto advise that at the present time there are limited facilities for the parking of commercial vehicles and particularly for coaches within Thanet as a whole with off street coach parking only available at Vere Road, Joss Bay in Broadstairs, Dreamland in Margate Minnis Bay in Birchington, Royal Esplanade and Victoria Parade in Ramsgate.
“ It advises that land adjacent to the Manston Airport site was considered as a potential site for such parking, but this would not pursued due to the distance that coach drivers would need to travel, having dropped passengers at their destinations.
“The park would operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and would be managed by staff at all times. Vehicular access and egress to and from the site would be via the A299 Royal Harbour Approach and Military Road.”
Planning documents submitted for the proposal say the maximum anticipated number of HGV movements to and from the Port would be 100 vehicles per day.
The applicant states: “The proposal will encourage legal overnight off street parking of HGV’s and has potential to help reduce HGV parking on carriageways in the district and county which can cause a hazard to other road users.”
The site would be laid out to provide pedestrian walkways around and through the parking areas. The walkways would be designed to link to the existing terminal building to the west of the application site which would be used by HGV/coach drivers for toilets, showers, waste and recycling facilities together with payment facilities.
Eight letters objecting to the plans have been received by Thanet council, raising issues such as it having a negative impact on local businesses particularly those in the arches flanking Military Road; There is no proof that the facility is needed. A recent council study found only 4 lorries parked inappropriately overnight and it would damage the Royal harbour and prevent the use of the port for a ferry.
Concerns have been raised that HGVs would use Military Road when the tunnel is closed for maintenance, resulting in highway safety issues and congestion. The planning officer says these occasions would not be so prevalent to result in severe harm to the highways network to warrant refusal of the application, adding that discussions about the closures are taking place.
The documents state the plan would not prevent use of the port by a ferry service.
The recommendation is to approve the application.