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Campaign sees East Sussex HGV operator told to move from premises on National Cycle Route 2

Collision involving lorry and cyclist led Cycling UK to get involved

Wealden District Council is working to help an HGV operator find a more suitable location after refusing retrospective planning permission for it to continue operating from a site on Rickney Lane, Pevensey. The decision came following a campaign by Cycling UK, local cycle groups and local walkers who argued that the lorry movements posed a risk to those using National Cycle Route 2.

Cycling UK raised concerns first with East Sussex council and then with the Wealden District Council regarding the safety implications of regular HGV movements on the narrow country road after a cyclist was seriously injured in September 2015.

The collision involved a lorry travelling along the lane from Countyclean Environmental Services Limited’s Chilley Farm site. The firm had been operating out of the premises for several years without having first secured planning permission.

Their business accounted for 71 per cent of all motor traffic on Rickney Lane, of which 35 per cent was HGVs.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Senior Road Safety and Legal Campaigns Officer said: “It was obvious to the Traffic Commissioner and East Sussex Highway Authority that Countyclean should never have been operating from such an unsuitable location which put walkers and cyclists at risk.”

Councillors unanimously agreed to refuse Countyclean’s retrospective planning application. Cycling UK welcomed the decision, but Dollimore said the organisation felt action should have been taken sooner.

“We should not have to wait until someone is seriously injured before action is taken, but at least we can take consolation that Wealden District councillors have made the right decision and significantly cut the risk on one of the UK’s flagship cycle routes.”

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burtthebike | 7 years ago

More positive outcomes from another CUK campaign, thanks are due to them and the local campaigners for all their hard work.  I'm sure this wasn't some quick fix and involved a lot of digging and persuading.

I've certainly learned something, and will be keeping this result tucked away for future reference.

antigee | 7 years ago


A V Lowe ........But the lack of resources within both the Councils and Traffic Commissioners offices makes timely and effective regulation of these details a significant issue.

I wouldn't worry about it too much...light touch and all that...cut the red tape...doesn't matter if someone is seriously injured if enterprise is at stake and of course there is industry self regulation:

from Countyclean's website":

"Over the years we have developed and expanded our service offering in tune with our client requirements and as such we have secured a number of imperative accreditations, such as Alcumus SafeContractor, ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, Achilles and FORS Gold, meaning that we can serve any sized client and win tenders with large contractors and local authorities alike."

"The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) is a voluntary accreditation scheme that promotes best practice for commercial vehicle operators.  FORS Bronze, Silver and Gold membership provides a progressive accreditation conduit whereby operators can achieve exemplary levels of best practice. FORS members stand out from the crowd, work to standards above the legal minimum and have access to a wide range of exclusive benefits that provide a real competitive advantage."   

So thats all sorted then - operating licenses/planning permission must have had them to obtain a voluntary accreditation scheme Gold badge

ktache | 7 years ago

Well done AV Lowe, good facts

OldRidgeback replied to ktache | 7 years ago
1 like

ktache wrote:

Well done AV Lowe, good facts


Yes indeed, an interesting bit of detective works that gives an important insight as to why there are concerns over this trucking firm.

A V Lowe | 7 years ago

Just checked - company started operating in 2007 from Farm with 2 vehicles, but grew to 10 vehicles in 2010 and added 1 trailer in 2016. In 2016 a condition was attached to the licence

OK1071462 Standard National


Public Inquiry (52749) held at Court Room(SEMTA), Ivy House, Ivy Terrace, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 4QT on 04 August 2016 at 10:00(Previous Publication:(3970) )OK1071462 SN COUNTYCLEAN ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES LTD Director(s): MICHAEL WALKER. CHILLEY FARM, RICKNEY , HAILSHAM BN27 1SE

GV - S26 - Condition attached the vehicle/trailer combination shall make no more than one outbound and one inbound movement per day from/to the operating centre except in case of emergency. An emergency is defined as an unexpected and unplanned event when the need for the trailer at the request of a third party arises at less than 12 hours’ notice. A record of each occasion on which the trailer is used in an emergency and the details of the emergency must be kept by the operator and made available to the traffic commissioner or DVSA on request.

Publication: A&D London and the South East of England(3970), Decisions taken at PI

Date: 29 Sep 2016

They also secured a new operating base at the same time

OK1071462 Standard National


OK1071462 SN (3967)


CHILLEY FARM, RICKNEY , HAILSHAM BN27 1SE New operating centre: UNIT 35, HOBBS INDUSTRIAL ESTATE, NEWCHAPEL LINGFIELD RH7 6HN () New authorisation at this operating centre will be: 4 vehicle(s), 1 trailer(s)

Publication: A&D London and the South East of England(3972), Variation Granted

Date: 27 Oct 2016

So things are moving towards a less intensive use of Chilley Farm and a base for part of the fleet. But the lack of resources within both the Councils and Traffic Commissioners offices makes timely and effective regulation of these details a significant issue.

A V Lowe | 7 years ago

I'd draw your attention to the fact that the Council is a statutory consultee when the company applies for their O Licence and that included declaration of the premises  from which they intend to operate trucks. The diligence of local Councils in reviewing such notices is miserably poor.

Under section 12 of the Goods Vehicle (Licensing of Operators) Act 1981 the planning and environmental departments (and local Police) have 28 days in which to raise objections relating to the declared details on the application. There have been some really effective individual officers, yet we see Frys (delivering the death of the 2 cyclists on the A30 in 2013) being allowed to operate from a farm-site the end of a narrow country lane.

Yet in Kent, the company linked (through the driver who killed at The Bank in 2015 beind a key named person on the O Licences (Transport Manager), and both companies sharing the same operating base, and registered office) had conditions attached to the grant of licence to operate for a rented space on a farm (OAKTREE FARM, POLHILL, HALSTEAD, SEVENOAKS, TN14 7AB), after local residents appeared to have noticed the application and raised objections over the routes which trucks would use to reach the farm and the O Licence (approved barely 1 week after the fatal crash) had the following as ONE of the conditions attached "New Undertaking: The vehicles authorised under this licence shall not use Otford Lane at any time.. Attached to Operating Centre"

A quick check against the postcode TN14 7AB with URL will reveal the detail - and you might also check the CountyClean licence history and ask why Wealden Council failed to raise this access issue when they were formally notified?

cjwebb | 7 years ago
1 like

Know that road well, very narrow, sharp bends and poor quality surface in places.

 Chilley Farm shop is a favorable coffee stop on a ride, so common to see groups riding on this road too.

Grahamd | 7 years ago

Mixed views on this, appropriate action to refuse permission but why so slow given that the vehicles have been in situ for years and shouldn't there be some punishment for the company?

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