Cambridge Bar Hill Hotel to become isolation base for Covid positive lorry drivers
Lorry drivers heading to the continent who have tested positive for Covid-19 will use the Cambridge Bar Hill Hotel as an isolation base before continuing their journeys.
The Department for Transport has procured the exclusive use of hotels in strategic locations across the country to accommodate mainly non-UK based drivers who have tested positive.
All lorry drivers travelling to France must have proof of a negative coronavirus test, as required by the French government, before completing their journeys.
The Cambridge Bar Hill Hotel has become one of the procured sites because of its proximity to the A14 and the road’s links to ports and the M11.
It will provide rooms which will allow drivers to complete their isolation period, giving access to food, drink, toiletries, television and wifi. Additional support will be made available for drivers who do not speak English as a first language.
South Cambridgeshire District Council environmental health officers have worked with hotel management to ensure staff and people needing to isolate are kept safe.
Staff with the correct PPE are on hand through the day and night to provide assistance required.
Cllr Bridget Smith, the leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Given the A14’s wider importance as part of the country’s strategic road network, it makes sense to have a Covid-secure stopping point for hauliers that do test positive for coronavirus to complete their self-isolation.
“These drivers are performing a vital role in ferrying supplies to and from the UK and they are a long way from home.
“They have nowhere else that is safe to go so they do need our support in order to isolate safely and then be able to carry on with their important jobs and get back to seeing their families.
“We’re working closely with the county council and Bar Hill Parish Council to do all we can to support the hauliers and provide them with everything they need within the hotel grounds, helping keep them and the wider community safe.”
In most cases, it will just be the lorry cab - and not the trailer - parked within the hotel grounds, and South Cambs District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council are working with the Department for Transport to make sure the number of vehicles are managed on site and no lorry cabs are parked in Bar Hill itself.
No guests are currently staying in the hotel apart from the lorry drivers, and security is on hand to assist with the smooth running.
Both councils will be working to ensure drivers have everything they need during the isolation period, and environmental health officers will assist with the implementation of Covid-secure measures.
Cllr Bunty Waters, chair of Bar Hill Parish Council and South Cambs district councillor for Bar Hill, said: “The community in Bar Hill have come together and worked hard to support one another during this terrible pandemic.
“We have had lots of issues with lorries parking in Bar Hill over the years, so I am reassured the councils are tackling the parking of cabs as a priority and cabs and trailers will not be parked in the village.
“Bar Hill Parish Council and the COVID-19 support scheme will continue to work with the other councils to see what other support might be needed. We want to ensure there is not a need for people to leave the hotel.”
Cllr Lynda Harford, county councillor for Bar Hill, said: “The county council has worked with partners including the district council, emergency planning teams and public health to provide support for these drivers who find themselves in an unenviable position.
“I’d like to reassure residents of Bar Hill that the appropriate public health and safety protocols are in place and strict Covid-19 rules are being followed to protect everyone and I will continue to monitor the situation.
“We will continue to work very closely with the hotel and the district council to ensure the parking of lorry cabs and any trailers is well managed and done safely.
“DfT are very aware that lorries should not park anywhere in the village and this must not be allowed to happen.”
Anyone failing to comply with an official instruction to self-isolate, including lorry drivers at the Cambridge Bar Hill Hotel, can be fined.
These start at £1,000 and rise to £10,000 for repeat offenders or serious breaches.
The police are aware of the hotel being used for this purpose and will be available if required.