Medway has joined 28 locations across the country earmarked as potential sites for a new lorry holding facility, to deal with increased freight capacity amidst Brexit pressure.
Through use of a statutory instrument, the Government passed legislation that did not require the consent of Parliament or input from the local government it will impact. Planning legislation also currently means that the Government can implement the site without having to get planning permission from the local authority.
Works are also currently underway in Ashford for a site aiming to hold up to 2,000 lorries.
Medway Labour and Co-operative Group Leader, Cllr Vince Maple stated, ‘This is an absolutely disgraceful disregard for local democracy and local Government.
‘A decision of this magnitude should include representation from the community it will affect, not side-lined through a back-door statutory instrument.
‘Not only does a lorry park in Medway stand to exacerbate existing traffic problems in the Medway towns, there is absolutely no ability for Medway Council to do anything about it.
‘This certainly wasn’t on the table throughout the Brexit debate and I cannot see how any Medway Councillor could support this proposal of by-passing locally elected representatives
‘Medway Labour and Co-operative Group will be presenting a motion at the upcoming Full Council Meeting to express our disappointment at this move, with the intention of making representations to national Government by writing to the Secretary of State.
‘I hope to see unanimous support across the council to send that clear message that the Government cannot ignore local democracy.’
Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet office, Rachel Reeves MP added, ‘We’ve heard grave concerns from the logistics industry warning that vital government IT systems may not be ready in time to avoid chaos at the border.
But worryingly, instead of addressing the concerns of businesses, the government is looking to build lorry parks across the country without consulting local communities.
‘With less than four months left until the end of the transition period the government must urgently come forward with a plan to put workable solutions in place.’