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Legal truckers ‘heckled’ in lorry limit village

LORRY drivers legitimately pass- ing through the weight-restricted villages of Yalding, Laddingford and Collier Street are asking the lo- cals to “back off”. Drivers for Staplehurst Transits,

whose trucks ferry locally-grown fruit and vegetables across the county, have been heckled and abused while going about their daily business, says director Colin Goldup.

Staplehurst Transits has been op- erating in Kent for more than 40 years, with a huge fleet of vehicles. Mr Goldup said: “I do not want to do anything which breaks the law – and I have checked and double- checked that I amnot doing. “Unfortunately, there are people

in the village who think the ban on vehicles over 7.5 tonnes is a blanket ban, and do not realise thatwe have permission to drive through when going about our daily business.” The 7.5 tonne restriction was brought in initially on a temporary basis, but after a period of public consultation and the inclusion of

several amendments, the order has now been made permanent. However, one of the amendments

means vehicles “involved in agri- cultural activities” are exempt from the restriction. MrGoldup said: “Our entire busi-

ness involves moving fruit and pro- duce around the county – what could be more agricultural?” Yalding Parish Council chairman Geraldine Brown emailed Mr Goldup to advise him his vehicles were in breach of theweight restric- tion, detailing times, dates and routes when his HGVs had been seen passing through the village. Mr Goldup said: “I don’t want to

be accused of breaking the law and don’t want people stopping my drivers and shaking their fists at them, so I double-checked the facts.” Mr Goldup spoke to KCC Cllr

Paulina Stockell and Kent High- ways managerAndyCorcoran,who confirmed Staplehurst Transit is one of the companies which is exempt from the new ruling.

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Mr Goldup said: “We drive from Nettlestead to Pattenden Lane at least twice each day, without stop- ping in the ‘zone’ and I have been totally honest and open about that. “Unfortunately, local people seem

to think our vehicles are above the weight limit and, aswe are not stop- ping and doing any business in the ‘zone’,we should not be there.” Staplehurst Transits was one of

theworst-affected companies when the experimental order was first in- troduced, with truckers being forced to drive double the distance, taking twice as long, costing more in fuel and in labour costs. Mr Goldup’s son Darren even

drove Cllr Stockell to Paddock Wood and back – and to August Pitts packhouse in Horsmonden – to demonstrate the difference between the two routes, after which it was agreed to make vehicles involved in farming and agriculture exempt. A spokesman for KCC said: “Ve-

hicles involved in any kind of agri- cultural activity are exempt from the restriction.”

Hockey player’s

winning stroke FORMERSuttonValence pupil Ash- ley Jackson was a star player as England won Commonwealth Games bronze in hockey. Ashley (26), who began his

hockey career at Tunbridge Wells Hockey Club, converted the win- ning stroke as England’s men beat NewZealand on penalties to claim amedal in Glasgow. He scored twice in the match to

finish joint top-scorer in the tour- nament on nine. Head coach BobbyCrutchley labelled him a “su- perstar” after his winning strike. Ashley, who plays for East Grin-

stead, also played a key role in the Olympic torch relay in Kent in 2012.


Award winning family run business.

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