English residents of Sevington and other towns near the English Channel and port of Kent are now dealing with local construction efforts as a result of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), which has forced the country to erect new customs facilities near major ports of entry.
The Associated Press reported that many residents of the area, which voted heavily in favor of Brexit, have expressed dismay over the construction of new facilities necessary for dealing with trade goods coming in from countries in the EU. That was previously were waved through the Channel and other ports of entry as part of the single market which Britain voted to leave.
“That was never part of the actual selling and the marketing for Brexit,” one Mersham, U.K. resident told the AP, adding: “The first anyone knew about it was when a sign went up saying the footpaths had been closed.”
Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016, but has not officially signed a deal that would establish open trading ties with the EU’s single market, of which Britain remains a member until the end of a withdrawal agreement later this year. Leaders of the two bodies have been attempting to reach such an agreement for months.
The chairman of the Sevington Parish Council told the AP that local residents were not consulted about plans for a “temporary traffic management” facility, which could be used to store hundreds or thousands of trucks in the result of a customs backlog, that is being constructed near a medieval-area church.
“Up to now no local resident has seen the plans,” Rick Martin told the AP.
“People are quite perplexed at the moment about what it’s going to look like when there’s 1,000 [trucks] parked across the road,” he added.
One member of the Kent County Council who is a member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party told the AP that the facility’s construction meant new jobs for the area.
“We need jobs,” Paul Bartlett told the AP. “I hope we’ll have 300 jobs and there’s a good system of apprenticeships that young people can sign up to and develop a career for themselves.
“It’s a beautiful part of the country to live in, and sometimes you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth,” he continued.