Spalding, where I live, is a very busy area for road haulage operations. The mass of agriculture means there is a lot of transport, all of it provided by road. There are big companies like Gist, FreshLinc, Fowler Welch, Turners and so on, plus plenty of other smaller and middle-sized hauliers, all working in the area – and road haulage is a great provider for employment. You shouldn’t struggle to get a truck driving job here.
And because of the vibrant transport hub, lots of trucks from all over the UK and Europe can be seen in the town. And while that means Spalding is a truckspotter’s paradise, sadly it’s not really a truck driver’s paradise. And that is because of the lack of facilities.
Bizarrely, in the middle of the town’s biggest industrial estate, where many of these transport companies and food packing factories are, is the local Morrisons supermarket. And when I visit there for shopping, I see lots of trucks, especially those from abroad, parked on the streets in the industrial estate.
Apart from the aforementioned Morrisons, which will be great for drivers to buy cheap and fresh food, there are no other facilities of note. The town, despite its size and importance in road haulage, has no bespoke, proper truckstop. No place where the trucks can park safely each night and where the drivers have good facilities.
Just on the outskirts of the town, an Applegreen services has just recently opened. At this site, sadly, there are signs everywhere stating ‘no HGV parking’ and so preventing drivers from staying here for the night. So while that is not ideal, adjacent to these new services is a massive plot of land which could house a great truckstop! It’s right by the main road into the town from the south and west.
Having just visited Chippenham Pit Stop recently to present it with its well-earned, and wholly deserved ‘Truckstop of the Year’ award, I know exactly what a modern day truckstop should be. The road haulage industry is crying out for more sites like this built. We need them to be affordable, quality and tailor made for truckers.
Truck drivers work exceptionally long hours. Mile after mile on a motorway can be quite mind numbing for some. So just why there are not more, proper, truckstops, remains a mystery to me, and it’s something that needs to be addressed. I’m not sure if it’s NIMBY councils ‘not wanting dirty trucks [and truckers] congregating’ or excessive rates make building new truckstops prohibitive. Both are unacceptable. We need more facilities like the Pit Stop and we need them now.