Jon Hubbard

Liberal Democrat Wiltshire Councillor for Melksham South and Town Councillor for Melksham Spa Learn more

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Lib Dem Councillor Jon Hubbard Calls for Area Board to Treat Lorry Park as Priority

by Jon Hubbard on 24 September, 2009

Local councillor Jon Hubbard urged yesterday’s area board meeting to prioritise finding a solution to the King Street Lorry Park.

The Lib Dem councillor asked that the board instruct officers to investigate the viability of moving the Lorry Park back to Bath Street car park (by Somerfields) as well as trying to identify other potential sites. As a result the Area Board will now be lobbying officers and cabinet members to find a solution. The board rejected the idea of waiting for a report to be published sometime next year, which will review all HGV parking across the county.

The full text of Cllr Hubbard’s speech is shown below.

In February this year I spoke to local residents in Spa Court while conducting my Annual Residents Survey. They complained to me about the disruption caused to their lives by the comings and goings of HGV lorries to and from the King Street Car Park.

Further investigations highlighted that vehicles were arriving until late at night, sometimes the early hours of the morning, and then leaving again the following morning, starting their engines as early as 5am in the morning. The resulting noise meant that local residents struggled to get a full nights sleep, indeed sometimes a couple of hours was all that was left between vehicles arriving and leaving.

But noise was not the only problem. Residents lives were also blighted by the fumes and pollution generated by the Lorries. If this was not enough there was also the litter that built up around the parking area.

Some local residents report of their houses literally shaking as lorries come and go, with evidence of structural damage being caused by the heavy vehicles manoeuvring into such a tight area.

But this is not the worst of it. Not the litter, not the noise, not the pollution.

No the worst of it is the human waste that is to be found as evidence of the lorries having been there. Some would say that this is exaggeration to make things sound worse than they are. But I have seen it first hand, and I can assure you it is true.

Now it is easy to cast the drivers as the villains of this piece. And that would be a simple solution as well. However, why shouldn’t they park there? After all, it is where the council tells them to park. They are told to park where there are no facilities, in an inappropriate car park slap bang in the middle of a residential area.

We can’t blame the lorry drivers for doing as they are told. We can blame those who ignore the plight of local residents and deny that there is a problem.

When I got elected onto this authority my very first action, as a councillor was to ask the newly appointed Cabinet Member responsible for transport to investigate this problem. As far as the local residents were concerned, nothing was done.

This area board then asked for the matter to be looked into. A report was written, I eventually, some two months after it was completed, was allowed to see it. This says nothing new, and nothing good for local residents.

Local residents have tried to do this as it should be done. They have completed the Environmental Impact Forms, only to be told they have never done so. They reported the problems to the council, only to be told they had never done so. Now is the time to find a solution to this disgraceful situation for which we, as an authority, should be ashamed.

Now is the time to move these Lorries, to return some peace to this area of town and to allow these residents to get a nights sleep again.

As an authority we proudly print the works “Where everyone matters” as part of our corporate logo. I think the people living adjacent to King Street Car Park would beg to differ.

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