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New Forest District Council will explore building lorry and truck parking amid HGV driver shortage

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TALKS will be held by civic chiefs to explore building new truck parks to help ease the HGV driver shortage crisis, it has been revealed.

However, Cllr Diane Andrews – NFDC cabinet member for planning, regeneration and infrastructure – expressed scepticism over the move. She hinted that planning permission could be difficult since many of the major, local routes used by HGVs went through the national park.

She was challenged at the latest NFDC full council meeting by Liberal Democrat Cllr Alex Wade. He cited the HGV driver shortage and lack of UK facilities for drivers to park, eat, sleep and shower, saying new ones would "ensure continued goods supplies" to shops and garages.

Lorries on the A35 at Totton
Lorries on the A35 at Totton

Responding, Cllr Andrews said the council would be looking at possible sites for lorry parks as part of its Local Plan Part Two.

"But such a use will only happen on sites where the use can be accommodated without harm to the environment and where the landowner is willing to use the land in that way," she said. "Now it’s no surprise land owners tend to use land for the use that gives them the greatest return on their investment.

Cllr Diane Andrews
Cllr Diane Andrews

"Planning will consider this matter as it starts to investigate the more detailed work around the issues that Local Plan Part 2 needs to consider to plan positively within the district."

There will be continued discussions between NFDC and Hampshire County Council over the topic, Cllr Andrews said, but she also went on to add a "dash of cold water".

"When I think of the road network and the roads you are talking about – A31, A35, B306 and A326 – each one of those roads plough through the national park," she said. "I’ll leave that there."

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