Royal Mail sorting office in Ashford could get parking spaces as petition reaches 3,000 signatures

A council leader says he is confident a compromise can be found after a petition to install three short-term parking spaces outside the Ashford sorting office gained strong public support.

More than 3,000 people have signed the petition as residents have long called for a solution to parking problems outside the Royal Mail site at Tannery Lane, which is currently surrounded by double yellow lines.

Cars often park in front of the sorting center despite the double yellow lines. Photo: Andy Jones

Activists are calling for three 15-minute parking spaces to allow enough time for people to collect their packages without fear of getting a ticket.

Mother-of-three Stephanie Roberts, who started the petition, presented it to the joint transport board earlier this month and Ashford City Council (ABC) said it was ‘reviewing’ the options .

Cllr Paul Bartlett (Con), Deputy Chief of ABC, added: “I’m confident we can reach a compromise here, maybe two spaces put together.

“When the double yellows were installed, Tannery Lane was the only road to the Civic Center and Stour Center, and Kent Wool Growers (KWG) was operating.

“Now the road is much less used as KWG has closed and there is access to the Stour Center from Station Approach.

Cllr Paul Bartlett, Deputy Leader of Ashford Borough Council
Cllr Paul Bartlett, Deputy Leader of Ashford Borough Council

“Less use means that a few parking spaces could be made safe.

“I have asked officers to look further into downtown parking as the shape of downtown usage is changing.

“We now have more restaurants and fewer retail businesses.

“If you take the example of the end of Bank Street towards Elwick Road, a large retail unit has been replaced by three takeaways, so we need to allow residents to stop and collect their food quickly. “

Ashford MP Damian Green also showed his support for the changes to Tannery Lane, saying: ‘In practical terms so many people are now stopping there anyway so if we can find a way for people to do it safely, might as well do it. .”

Mom Stephanie Roberts started the petition
Mom Stephanie Roberts started the petition

Although the outcome of the talks has yet to be confirmed, Ms Roberts, who started the petition after struggling to get a package back just before Christmas, says she is glad it has come to this stage.

She added: “All my indications are that it’s a positive thing, it’s not being ignored, they’re thinking about how they’re going to go about it.

“The public consensus is generally that this is something that people will benefit from because they have been looking for a solution for many years.

“A process has been launched, it may not be fast but it’s further than before so I’m happy.”

The entrance to the Tannery Lane Sorting Office
The entrance to the Tannery Lane Sorting Office

ABC’s team leader for parking, highways and transportation will produce a report for discussion and recommendation at the next full board meeting on April 21.

An ABC spokesperson said: “Officers are currently reviewing the matter, so there is no further information at this stage.”

When the issue of parking was discussed in March 2018, Royal Mail bosses said there was not enough space outside their sorting office to introduce parking spaces.

Royal Mail staff can no longer leave their own vehicles on the Sorting Office site
Royal Mail staff can no longer leave their own vehicles on the Sorting Office site

Instead, residents were asked to use nearby public parking lots or postpone their deliveries.

In September, greater controversy surrounded the site when postal workers working at the sorting office were told they could no longer park their cars on the site due to security concerns.

Royal Mail said limited space in the facility’s courtyard meant that workers who used to park in the staff area now had to leave their vehicles elsewhere.

To view the petition, click here