The government has announced it is use the former Shearings interchange site in Cheshire as a post-Brexit inland border facility for lorries.
The site, in Appleton Thorn, near Warrington, will be used as a 24/7 inland border control point for heavy goods vehicles from January 1 after the Brexit transition period ends.
Once customs checks have been completed at the facility, drivers are expected to leave and continue their journey to make sure the number of vehicles on site is kept to a minimum to reduce the risk of congestion.
However, the Government estimates drivers will need between one to two hours to go through customs clearance, reports CheshireLive.
The facilities across the country will act as a Government office of departure for outbound journeys, and a Government office of destination for inbound journeys, where hauliers can start and end journeys when moving goods in and out of the UK, under the Common Transit Convention.
But the potential impact of the Warrington site on Barleycastle Trading Estate has sparked concerns among Liberal Democrat borough councillors.
Cllr Judith Wheeler said: “We have visited the site to talk to local businesses who will now have to share the surrounding road network with the facility.
“Despite ongoing discussions with HMRC, we have no clear answer to the projected numbers of lorries visiting the site each day.
“Figures vary from around 700 lorry movements to almost double that number. This would be 24/7 and 365 days a year.
“There are several other logistics businesses on the estate plus the presence of the Eddie Stobart headquarters.
“Many of those are 24/7 as well and the road they will all use, Barleycastle Lane, is very narrow with no room currently to let two HGVs pass each other.
“It is a recipe for traffic chaos. One breakdown or accident will bring the whole area to a standstill.”
Cllr Sharon Harris also expressed concerns over the situation.
She said: “If there is an incident on one of the motorways surrounding the site, traffic will use the surrounding roads.
“We are pressing for as many mitigation measures as possible to relieve impact on local roads and residents.”
But Conservative Warrington South MP Andy Carter has responded to the comments.
He said: “I’m slightly confused by the comment that there is no clear number of lorry movements for this site, last week I invited councillors and residents to speak directly to the HMRC project director, Cllr Harris joined that call and heard the numbers being discussed.
Did you know we offer a free email newsletter service?
Each StokeonTrentLive bulletin delivers the latest breaking news, what’s on events and the hottest talking points straight to your inbox. For more information about how – and why – to subscribe, click here.
Decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails? No problem – you can just follow the unsubscribe link.
“HMRC confirmed that the number of lorries using the site each day would be between 250-300, well below the numbers being touted around by the Lib Dems, they seem to have conveniently ignored these figures because they don’t fit their anti-Brexit scare tactics.
“The site being used is next to the motorway on an existing industrial estate, where HMRC have created ‘swim lanes’ so that lorries called for inspection don’t need to park on the carriageway.
“Over the last 12 months we’ve lost Shearings and Travis Perkins from these trading estates, so 350 well-paid jobs for Border Force and site management will be a welcome boost to the area.”
The current proposals for the facility will accommodate space for up to 69 HGV spaces at any one time.
But the Government says the facility should not have an impact on communities as its assessments show the impact on the road network in the area is minimal.
Take a look at the issues affecting your area:
A spokesperson said: “In July 2020, the Government committed to spending £470 million on new border infrastructure to support ports in building extra capacity where there is space to do so and, if necessary, to build additional inland sites across the country.
“We have consulted with local stakeholders at each stage of the planning process, publishing detailed plans and inviting comments from local residents.
“We have received initial consent to use Warrington as an inland border facility from 1 January 2021 and have published detailed information for hauliers on how to use these locations if they need to process transit documents.”