Planning bid to convert Holyhead’s former truck stop into a Brexit customs facility

The UK Government has submitted the first phase of its planning bid to convert Holyhead’s former truck stop into a Brexit customs facility.

Following a high profile search for a suitable site, it was announced in July that HMRC had completed the purchase of the Roadking unit at Parc Cybi.

Having only opened in 2015 following concerns there were no suitable stopping facilities on the island, the site on the port town’s outskirts provided eating, sleeping and showering facilities for truckers.

Earlier proposals for a customs facility on Anglesey Show’s park-and-ride facility at Mona were rejected by the island council last year, amid concerns over hundreds of trucks being diverted off the A55 and through villages such as Gwalchmai.

But having finally taken over Roadking during the summer, the UK Government department has now submitted a screening opinion application to convert the 84,000 square metre site into a permanent border facility.

The first phase application will now be considered by Anglesey Council ahead of a full planning bid, with considerations including if an Environmental Impact Assessment is needed.

Made necessary as a result of leaving the European Union and single market, such Inland Border Facilities (IBF) provide a physical checkpoint to conduct documentary and physical inspection checks on goods being imported from, and exported to the EU, where existing ports do not have the capacity.

Making use of the existing layout and buildings, HMRC is planning to offer parking for HGVs as well as security measures and facilities to enable the checking of vehicles and goods entering and exiting the site, as well as staff welfare facilities.

Operating 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, it’s expected that the facility would process up to 350 HGVs over a 24 hour period.

But while concerns were raised over the loss of 24 jobs and the facilities previously offered at Roadking, HMRC expects the development to create 390 temporary jobs during construction and another 175 permanent roles.

The application states, “The jobs created would be open to all but HMRC would seek to encourage employment for local people residing in the local area.

“It is reasonable to expect however that a number of the roles available would be filled by employees from further afield.”

The proposals themselves would see the existing two storey truck stop building become the main IBF office, with a single storey extension housing extra office, admin and staff welfare space.

With a total of nine entry/exit gatehouses set to be provided, the supporting documents go on to note, “The use proposed is not significantly different in nature from the recent RoadKing Truck Stop use.

“That included for large scale outdoor parking of HGV’s and their associated movements along with the provision of a large building to provide welfare facilities.

“Further planning permissions have been granted on the site for extensions to the Road King Truck Stop and although never implemented, there is a clear precedent for further built development of the nature proposed on the site.

“The development of the site would represent an effective re-use of previously developed land in a highly sustainable location.

“The proposal will bring about significant economic benefits through the creation of short and long term jobs and inward investment in close proximity to the national and internationally important freight port at Holyhead.”

Anglesey Council will consider the screening opinion application and provide feedback ahead of an expected full planning application later this year.

North Wales Chronicle | Anglesey