News release from 17/02/2021

Local Councils thank community for their support as self-isolation scheme at Bar Hill hotel closes

Row of lorries

Local Councils have thanked the Bar Hill Covid community group and hotel staff for their caring response in supporting lorry drivers who had to isolate at The Cambridge Bar Hill hotel.

The Department for Transport (DfT) scheme began in December when the French Government required all lorry drivers travelling to France to have proof of a negative Coronavirus test. The DfT set up information and advice sites across Britain where drivers could be tested before making their way to France.

The Cambridge Bar Hill hotel was one of the locations used for driver to isolate, but due to fewer hauliers testing positive recently, the use of the Bar Hill hotel has now ceased.

South Cambridgeshire District Council Environmental Health Officers worked with the hotel management to ensure staff and people needing to isolate were kept safe, and councillors have thanked the hotel management for their team’s attention to detail that ensured drivers were treated with compassion whilst isolating away from their home country.

As well as local councils and public services working together to ensure drivers did not need to leave the hotel, the local Bar Hill COVID-19 support scheme volunteers provided daily support with deliveries of additional food, clothes and prescriptions. The group also worked with the local primary school and other volunteers and created a pack for each driver when they arrived at the hotel to make drivers feel welcome.

The DfT national scheme is still in operation. However, no hotels are now being used in Cambridgeshire.

Whilst at the hotel, drivers had a room with food, drink, toiletries, television, and Wi-Fi. They were given clear information about their responsibilities upon arrival. Translated materials and welfare calls, with interpreters where necessary, were also carried out regularly to ensure they had what they needed.

Cllr Bridget Smith The Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cllr Bridget Smith (right) said: “It is heart-warming to hear how the Covid community group and the hotel staff in Bar Hill did so much to make drivers, who may well have felt frightened, so comfortable and welcome. The response from the local councils and our partners in health, Police and Fire has been a huge team effort. I am really proud of how our officers and partners pulled out all the stops to ensure the scheme was a success. Every detail was looked at in detail to ensure the initial concerns from local people were dealt with. It is good news that falling positive tests in hauliers means this hotel can now stop being used, but we must all remember that Coronavirus has not gone away and we need to ensure we all do everything we can to stop the spread.”

Councillor Bunty Waters Cllr Bunty Waters (pictured right), District Councillor for Bar Hill, said: “I’ve been heartened with the kindness and thoughtfulness of residents, children and everyone who gave generously to make the time while the HGV drivers stayed in the hotel the best experience it could be. It must have been a time of concern to them. The officers at South Cambridgeshire District Council and other partners, Bar Hill Covid-19 team, Tesco and hotel staff contributed enormously to make this situation work extremely efficiently. I’m sure the DfT thank them sincerely as I do.”

Cllr Lynda Harford, Local County Councillor for Bar Hill, said: “I’m really inspired by how the community at Bar Hill, the hotel and council officers pulled together at a difficult time to make an extremely sensitive situation work well. I’d like to thank the residents of Bar Hill and the hotel staff for the support they have shown to the lorry drivers while they self-isolated. We must remember to continue to follow the lockdown rules, stay safe and help protect our families, communities and the NHS.”