No current plans for Brexit lorry park in East Sussex town, says MP

There are no current plans for a Brexit lorry park in one East Sussex town, according to its MP.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 3:27 pm

At the weekend it was revealed that the Government has given itself permission to build temporary no-trade deal lorry parks in 29 areas if required without approval from local authorities.

One of these is East Sussex and there were concerns that Newhaven would be in the ‘firing line’ as a port town.

But Lewes MP Maria Caulfield said the legislation was to prepare for every eventuality in the Brexit negotiations and represent contingency plans to ensure smooth trading in the even of a no deal.

Maria Caulfield MP at Newhaven

She said: “There are no plans for a lorry park in Newhaven. The legislation allows for a lorry park in East Sussex should one ever be needed in the future but there are no plans for a lorry park in Newhaven or anywhere else in East Sussex.

“The port in Newhaven is installing customs checks within the port and these will be ready by December.”

Prior to December’s general election, Lib Dems raised concerns about the potential for significant disruption post-Brexit if lorries are unable to access the port.

But they say these concerns were dismissed at the time as ‘scaremongering’.

James MacCleary (Lib Dem, Newhaven South), leader of Lewes District Council (LDC), has now written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, asking him categorically to rule out any plans for a lorry park in the Newhaven and the wider Lewes district area.

He described being ‘extremely disappointed’ both LDC and East Sussex County Council were not advised at any point of the Government’s intention to grant itself such wide-ranging powers.

He had received numerous enquiries from worried residents asking where parking facilities will be located.

Cllr MacCleary asked for formal confirmation that the government does not have plans for such a facility in the Lewes/Newhaven area.

If there were no plans he suggested including East Sussex in the new powers ‘seems unnecessary’ as Newhaven is the only port of its kind in the county.

In a statement he said: “Maria Caulfield has claimed publicly there will be no lorry parks locally, but if that is the case then why is East Sussex even listed? “The country was told Brexit was about reducing red tape and delays. This discussion about lorry parks shows that a massive increase in checks on lorries and paperwork is planned and the Government is planning locations for these extensive new checks to be carried out.

“The uncertainty is causing widespread concern within our community so I hope the Secretary of State will quickly rule out any possibility of a lorry park being built in the district and at Newhaven Port.”

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