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End the delays - you're killing my truck stop
THE founder of a business which blazed the trail for modern haulage facilities fears Government planning delays could spell the end for the family firm.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles was due to announce on Tuesday which of a number of motorway service schemes would be approved along the newlydesignated stretch of motorway in North Yorkshire.
But a year after a decision was first expected, the decision has been delayed again.
One of those schemes awaiting approval is the relocation of the truck stop Exelby Services from Londonderry to Leeming Bar.
Work on upgrading the A1(M) has placed the facility in a much more inaccessible spot, which could prove fatal for a business dependant on being easily accessible.
To compound the problem, the four signs directing traffic off the A1(M) have been removed and can only be reinstated if Exelby Services becomes a designated motorway service.
The business secured local government planning permission to relocate in a £5m scheme. But it is one of five schemes along the new stretch of motorway now needing Government approval.
Ron Exelby, from Northallerton , set up the business in the 1950s. He has since retired and handed it to his son, Michael.
The enterprise provides truck drivers with fuel, repairs, accommodation and secure overnight parking for lorries, and was one of the first in the country to do so.
The business also provides a “bunkering” service to haulage companies.
It is a way of storing fuel for transport companies, which are able to buy diesel at reduced price and then store it at places such as Exelby for their trucks as they cross the country, in return for a small refuelling charge.
The arrangement is now common practice in Britain, but was pioneered by Mr Exelby in the 1950s in a bid to keep his truck repair business afloat. But it means the location of the truck stop is of vital importance.
Mr Exelby said: “Bunkering only saves the haulage companies money if you can pop off the road to refuel. If you burn up three to four litres of fuel to get to a refuelling point, you waste what you were trying to save in the first place, which is what’s happening now.”
Mr Exelby called for a swift decision to save the business.
“I’m 85,” he said. “On Monday, I went down to the truck stop and started to cry. You used to go there and see five lanes full of refuelling trucks. On Monday, there wasn’t a truck in sight.”