Diary of complaints and responses to the Construction Traffic on Archer’s Court Road

The developer has appointed a Site Manager as the point of contact for any complaints or enquiries about their construction activities and construction traffic along Whitfield’s roads.

The Contact is Mr Will Gooding – Phone No 07483 980 784

Update – January 2017

The Parish Council have passed on numerous complaints about contraventions of the Construction Traffic Management Plan (CTMP) that is supposed to be enforced by DDC. Namely;

• The mud on the road, and the lack of efficiency of any wheel washing facilities on the construction site;
• Articulated lorries being used contrary to agreement;
• Lorries passing on Archer’s Court Road, contrary to the CTMP;
• Lorries using Archer’s Court Road during school morning and afternoon rush hours, contrary to the CTMP;
• Speeding lorries;
• Lorries ignoring Red lights at the temporary traffic lights on Archer’s Court Road;
• Lorries going through the Village on Sandwich Road, contrary to the CTMP;

The number of incidents that are reported and the evidence of the thick mud and stones on the road from the site entrance from time to time would suggest that there is a problem. However, the responses from the DDC Planning Department are as follows:

Systemic failure of CTMP –” As previously advised, I do not believe that to be the case. No one is denying that there have been occasional breaches of the CTMP but they are not regular occurrences and have been swiftly responded to by the developer when approached.”

Lorries come and go with no control – “That is not the case as lorries are required to book in and out of the site with such details being recorded. The contractor has acknowledged that there have been occasional lapses of this if the gateman has been called away for any reason. That explains the recent case of mud on the road where a vehicle bypassed the wheel cleaning equipment. A barrier is shortly to be put in place to ensure that does not reoccur.”

Are all contractors vehicles subject to the CTMP? – “The CTMP confirms that they are. I have seen no evidence that there is parking on local roads.”

“I appreciate that you continue to be totally opposed to use of ACR for construction vehicles but that decision has been made and we need to move on. I still believe that the CTMP is, in the main, being adhered to, and is successful in mitigating the impact of construction vehicles on a large development site. The low level of complaints we are receiving (apart from yourself) would also suggest that is the case. Where there have been breaches, or other issues have arisen, they have been promptly dealt with by the developer. “

“The CTMP was never going to be 100% watertight in preventing the odd occasion where it is not complied with, owing to rogue drivers, extreme weather conditions or other site issues. At the end of the day it is a large development site and inevitably there is some inconvenience at times. However we are satisfied that on the whole the CTMP is working well in terms of minimising that inconvenience to an acceptable level and that the developer is not only well aware of all the local sensitivities in that respect, but is responding quickly to any situations that do arise from time to time.”

Update – 14th November 2016

Communication has broken down with the developers and DDC as complaints have continued to increase. There now appears to be a complete disregard of the planning conditions and lack of enforcement by DDC Officers.

The developers must be brought into line and DDC must start taking their responsibilities seriously !!! It is a major worry that we have another 20 years of this contempt for the Residents of Whitfield to put up with unless we start to get it right now.

The main problem is the mud on Archer’s Court Road, which has increased since 26th October and although a sweeper has been on the road on Friday afternoon, all this has done is break up the clods and spread it around onto both side of the road. The weekend rain has washed some mud away, but the road is slippery and unsafe. The site entrance is like a ploughed field so any vehicle exiting the site will drag more mud onto the road.

The CTMP stipulates wheel washing must take place and this is not being done and DDC should enforce this with immediate effect – along with all the other breaches that I have listed in my recent emails.

DDC allowed the access along Archer’s Court Road against the requirements of the SPD and planning permission conditions, so they must step up now and enforce the CTMP that the contractor wrote and that they accepted as the conditions of the access.

The following email was sent to the DDC Planning Department on Friday 11th November:

“I have today seen a number of infringements concerning the site traffic coming through Whitfield

1.  The road is covered in mud, to the extent that the yellow lines are not visible as far up the road as Newlands. No wheel washing or road sweeping is taking place,

2. I have seen lorries passing on ACR, contrary to the CTMP,

3. I have seen 4 articulated lorries making deliveries and collections to the site, we were assured it would only be rigid lorries,

4. While waiting at the temporary traffic lights, the lights went green and as I was starting to go 2 lorries came though from the other end, presumably jumping the red light at their end

5. I saw an Ovenden lorry parked up on ACR on the yellow lines, contrary to the CMTP.

Could you also respond to the email below that I sent to Will Gooding on 26th October as I have yet to receive any reply whatsoever.

At last week’s Parish Council Meeting, I discovered that Will has been told not to respond or communicate with us – also contrary to the CTMP and the Code of Construction Practice, so I would ask that you respond and sort out this ridiculous situation which we are now apparently in.

As it would appear that we are in the position that the developer is again disregarding all the terms and conditions of the permissions granted, Please take immediate enforcement action on these issues and respond to my emails”

October 26th – The Parish asked the developer for the following information:  

Are all contractors on the site covering all operations being notified of the problems that are reported, so all complaints and Queries are dealt with in a timely manner?

 Why HGV’s are passing on Archer’s Court Road when the CTMP states that Construction traffic shall be managed to ensure that two HGV’s do not meet on Archers Court Road and that deliveries/ arrivals will be scheduled with an arrival time slot, and vehicles departing the construction area will be held on site until the incoming vehicle arrives?

 Information on the status of the Roadworks on Archer’s Court Road as a dumper has been ferrying soil up to gate 2 – depositing a lot of mud and debris on the road.

Wheel washing arrangements. There has been mud on the road which had been regularly cleaned , and the Parish Council  said that, at the time, it was not a real problem providing it is kept on top of.

Non HGV site access. We asked if all staff and sub-contractors access is still subject to the restrictions of the CTMP as there have been reports of many smaller commercial vehicles using ACR during the restricted times?

We asked for the monthly report  that the developer is supposed to send as part of the liaison conditions as we need to be regularly updated on the detail of planned works and effects on Public Rights of Way.

 We asked for a report of the numbers of HGV’s using the site, again as required by the planning conditions for the site, and if there is more than allowed by the CTMP

Update 19th October – Lorries speeding through the Village along Sandwich Road.

Developer emailed all their contractors and part of the contract process confirmed the retractions.

Update 20th September 2016 – DDC confirm HGV’s will use Archer’s Court Road until 13th February 2017

Following the Planning Committee held on 25th August, DDC have confirmed that the Site Construction Traffic will now be using Archer’s Court Road until 13th February 2017. This is disappointing for the Parish Council and the local Residents as it makes a nonsense of the reduction to 22 weeks, when in fact the HGV’s have been using the road from mid April – for 21 weeks already. The addition of a further 22 weeks takes the period beyond the original 40 weeks that was requested by the Developer.

We feel let down after all the assurances made during the Masterplanning and SPD processes that no construction traffic would go through the Village. It does not matter which contract they are fulfilling; they are HGV’s, using ACR, contrary to all DDC and Developer assurances.

[  Link to Minutes of the planning meeting  ]

[  Link to Whitfield Parish Council’s objection  ]    

Update 21st August – DDC to decided on extended use of Construction site HGV’s using Archer’s Court Road

Although a 22 week Planning Restriction was put on HGV’s using Archer’s Court Road to access the housing development and the fact that HGV’s have used the route for 18 weeks since April; DDC, in collaboration with the developers, have now effectively extended the period back to the original 40 weeks by claiming the 22 weeks allowed under the planning permission should start on August 9th.

We have had to put up with the HGV’s for 18 weeks (from mid April) only to be told the 22 week period has not yet commenced and that the last few months of speeding lorries ignoring the restriction times do not count!

The Parish Council appears to have been cut out of any consultation on this contentious subject of the HGV’s using Archer’s Court Road for an extended period, and even more concerned to learn that a very retrospective decision on the whole issue is to be made at next Thursday’s DDC Planning Meeting at 6.00 pm, with little or no chance for the Parish to put forward its views.

The agenda item is for a variation to the Section 106 legal agreement between DDC and the developers. The content in the agenda relating to the HGV’s on Archer’s Court Road is almost a verbatim response to the points that the Parish have been raising and has been in dispute since February, but in all that time the responses  received from DDC have NOT said these issues were still to be decided. To the contrary, all correspondence from DDC have said that the use of Archer’s Court Road had all been agreed, the building of houses before the junction completion has been agreed and that everything was in order and decided, when it would now appear that the purpose of the variation is to actually authorise the work which has been proceeding since mid-April and is actually a retrospective permission.

The agenda information pack for the meeting has been published and the Parish Council is concerned that the full background to the issue of the use of Archer’s Court Road is not being given to Members to consider at the forthcoming Planning Committee meeting:

DDC are reneging all the promises and reassurances given to all Residents and Community Representatives throughout the Masterplanning and consultation processes, by both DDC representatives and the Developers themselves, that Construction Traffic would not go through the Village!

Update 4th August 2016 – Further complaints to developers and DDC

9 incidents have been reported to the Developer and DDC relating to lorries speeding down Archer’s Court Road at 40 mph, parking on the footpaths, passing each other on Archer’s Court Road (which is contrary to the Management Plan) and other unsafe proctices.

No response has been received by the Parish Council to date.

Although previous complaints have been acted on and the contract companies warned to take action, these incidents continue to happen on a regular basis, so the actions taken are far from effective and HGV’s continue to disregard the rules.

We have asked for the enforcement officer to take action with the developer.

Update 25th July 2016 – 22 week period for use of Archer’s Court Road by HGV’s being extended back to 40 weeks?

Originally the contractor applied to use Archer’s Court Road  for 40 weeks, but when the Parish Council objected this was reduced to 22 weeks. The contractor is now claiming that the 22 weeks was only for the junction works on the A256 by pass and that this is in addition to the 17 weeks that the HGV’s will have already been using Archer’s Court Road . The developer and DDC Planning Officers are now saying that although the Primary Street is being constructed and there has been construction activities on the site since the beginning of April, as the Junction works have not begun, the 22 weeks period allowed by the Construction Traffic Management Plan will not begin until at least the 2nd week of August.

Meanwhile, Archer’s Court Road  continues to be used by HGV’s.

This is an unacceptable moving of the goal posts. The Parish Council accepted in good faith that the use of Archer’s Court Road  would be reduced from 40 to 22 weeks but it would now appear that the original 40 weeks will be allowed by DDC – 17 weeks that Archer’s Court Road  has already been used PLUS  22 weeks starting mid August.

Our District Councillors have asked for a meeting with the Planning Department at DDC to clarify the situation.

Update 21st July 2016 –  HVG’s taking short cut along Sandwich Road through the Village.

A further complaint by a District Councillor has been made to the site manager of HGV’s turning right from Archer’s Court Road  to use Sandwich Road as a short cut. Again, this is a repeat contravention of the terms of the Construction Traffic Management Plan and previous actions appear not to have been effective.

No response has been received from the site manager as yet.

Update 19th July 2016 – Lorries using Archer’s Court Road during School restriction times.

Further complaints have been made relating to HGV’s ignoring the school pick up and drop off restricted times for use of Archer’s Court Road, use of an unauthorised entry route onto site being used and unsafe driving practices.

Unfortunately, this is a repeat contravention of the terms of the Construction Traffic Management Plan restriction times and demonstrates that previous assurances that actions with the haulage companies concerned have been taken have not been effective.

The complaints have been passed on to the site manager by the Parish Council and the response received is: that due to the multiple activities which are being carried out there has been a breakdown of communication and subsequent loss of control of HGV movements.

We are now assured that the Site Manager will take overall control of all operations and sub-contract companies on site and ensure that the terms of the CTMP will be enforced.

Update – 1st July 2016 – Lorry using Archer’s Court Road during School restriction times.

A complaint that a Fuel Tanker was seen leaving the Archer’s Court Road site at 8.35am, contrary to the restriction on using Archer’s Court Road within the 8.00 to 9.30  and 14.30 – 16.00 school restriction times, was passed onto Will Gooding and all necessary actions have been taken.

The matter was taken up with the Civil Contractor and Delivery Company’s  Area Operation Manager who responded by investigating the incident and the reason why the Lorry was not held on the site until 9.30.  The local depot and Operations team are now fully aware of the site restrictions and compliance required to follow in future, so this should not happen again.

Update 25th June – prompt action on complaints.

Complaints have been received about lorries coming from Archer’s Court Road and turning through the Village to use Sandwich Road as a short-cut to Sandwich and mud on the road outside the site entrance.

The complaint was passed onto Will Gooding, Site Manager, who responded immediately.

The Civil Contractor was informed that they must use the A2 road and not the village roads and it was found that someone had already contacted the company direct and that the company had already spoken to their drivers and explained they need to use the A2. 

Since the recent bad weather, Mr Gooding tells us that they have used their wheel wash facilities, which takes the majority of mud off, and as it was extreme weather on Monday they took the view to have a road sweeper in which will also be used today with the situation being kept under daily review. 

Update – 11th June

While the Parish Council and Residents would prefer the alternative route from the bypass to be used, the contractors have many safeguards in place to mitigate any problems and the drivers of the vehicles are all professional and experienced drivers so there should not be any major problems.

  1. Warning signage for the site access has been greatly improved with bigger signs situated at a greater distance from the hazard.
  2. Yellow timeplate signs have been put up to enforce the yellow lines.
  3. 30mph speed restriction signs to extend the existing limit to beyond the site entrance are in operation.

Whitfield’s PCSO, Jacqui Brook, is carrying out speed checks on Archer’s Court Road to deter the increasing speed of local traffic on Archer’s Court Road that has been noted 

Mr Gooding is very approachable and is keen to hear of any problems so that they can be addressed without delay. He is in regular contact with the Parish Council and will be updating us with progress and news of any new activities on the site.

If you do have cause to complain, please let the Parish Council know as well, so that we we are also aware of any issues too.

Update of Archer’s Court Road safety signage – 20th May 2016

  1. Warning signage for the site access has been greatly improved with bigger signs situated at a greater distance from the hazard.
  2. Yellow timeplate signs have been put up to enforce the yellow lines.
  3. 30mph speed restriction signs to extend the existing limit to beyond the site entrance are in place and should be in operation by 6th June.

There have already been numerous complaints to our District Councillors. On 13th April when the lorries first started using Archer’s Court Road, before permission had been given, complaints were made about the speed the lorries. 

13th May a complaint was received from an Archer’s Court Road Resident about the speed of all traffic now using Archer’s Court Road now that the yellow lines have been painted :

“As you may be aware this road has recently been yellow line to facilitate construction traffic.
The speed on this road has increased dramatically, virtually no-one is obeying the speed limit, and estimated speeds reach 60-70 mph.
Entering or leaving driveways became more dangerous each day and there is a serious risk of a major accident. I am aware that Kent police are not able to give this much attention, owing to the financial cut backs but I feel that  reverting to some parking would physically reduce the speed.
I am not expecting much of a result as the desire to push for more housing at any cost appears to be the order of the day.”

Response to Parish Complaint of 13th May from DDC

“Dear Jeff
Thank you for your email.  This is to let you know that we have opened an enforcement file on this issue and that my colleague Jim McEwen will be investigating.  You will see that I have copied Jim into this email.
I believe that Kim Bennett, in his recent email to you, mentioned that the developer has appointed a site manager and provided you with the contact details.  If you have concerns about construction traffic not adhering to the restrictions could I suggest that you take it up direct with the site manager in the first instance as this is likely to result in a speedier resolution.  If, however, there is no resolution to your satisfaction please do then let Jim know and we will investigate.
I understand from Kent Highways that the parking restrictions have been implemented. They are in regular sections with gaps in-between rather than continuous, so as not to push on-street parking onto other nearby residential roads. The restrictions are not enforceable without the associated ‘time plates’ and KCC’s Roadworks Team have sent a reminder to the developer about the need for the ‘time plate’ signs to be provided.  The temporary 30 mph speed limit comes into force on 6th June. The northernmost access currently in use for the site compound has adequate visibility for the national speed limit that currently applies, however, the temporary 30 limit will extend to encompass this access and the Roadworks Team will ensure that appropriate signage is put in place for both accesses.
I hope this is helpful.
Mike Ebbs – Head of Regeneration and Development”

The Parish Council have sent a complaint into DDC 13th May – The complaint was:

“FAO: DDC Planning Conditions Enforcement 
 I note that Kim Bennett only works on a Thursday, so can someone ensure that the following issues are addressed with the upmost urgency?
 I have driven past Archer’s Court Road construction site today and noticed the following infringements to the conditions for the use of this road for site access.
 (1) I witnessed 2 vehicles driving out of the site and continue through Church Whitfield, rather than using Archer’s Court Road. No company logo was visible on either vehicle.
 (2) Kent Highways raised no highway safety issues subject to ‘single yellow lines being put along the entire length of ACR , temporary additional speed restrictions put in place, and improved visibility put in at the southern access’. 
 These conditions have not been implemented.
 (i) Are the yellow lines legal or enforceable without the yellow ‘timeplate’ signs?
 (ii) There are no temporary speed restrictions in place. Even if the lorries keep to 30mph beyond the Village 30mph zone to the site entrance, all other traffic is still controlled by the 60mph national speed limit and slower moving vehicles increase the risk of collisions.
 (iii) The southern access is not in use and the existing Farm Gate access is not well defined or obvious to through traffic at 60mph.
 (3) Condition 4.14.3 of the CTMP states that gates to the vehicular accesses will be recessed sufficiently to allow articulated HGV’s to stand clear of the public highway i.e. 18.0m from the respective carriageway edge. This has not been complied with at the current single access point. 
 Safety issues, which I assume are part of this permission:
 (4) Signage is very minimal for warning traffic coming from Deal about the site entrance and dangers of turning vehicles. Estimated speeds are at least 50 to 60 mph, so larger signs starting form a greater distance from the entrance are really needed.
 (5) Can you also clarify the limits of the size of articulated vehicles that can use this access route, as you say this is limited by the width and access from Archer’s Court Road. 
 (6) You also say that the Council have ensured safety issues have been carefully assessed. Can you send a copy of the DDC Risk Assessment that has been carried out? 
 (7) Can you confirm if any safeguards are in place to protect Whitfield’s Children during the school Summer Holidays, when the Drop-off exclusion times are not really relevant, and also confirm  if during the school holidays these exclusion times will still be enforced?
 (8) Can you confirm the date on which the traffic will be stopped from using Archer’s Court Road i.e. the end of the 22 week period. Please note that the road has already been used for a few weeks and even although this was without permission, this should also be included in the 22 week period that has been applied for and granted.
 Thank you in anticipation of your prompt response.
  Jeff Goodsell – Chairman Whitfield Parish Council “