Full-capacity truckstop says it must double size
As many as 200 HGVs a week are being turned away from one of the county’s largest lorry parks as the growth in traffic from the continent continues to rise.
Ashford International Truckstop, off the M20 near Junction 10, is recording its highest ever occupancy rates, highlighting what the owners say is the growing need for its expansion.
Figures for June and July this year show the park was operating at 97% capacity – 8% higher than the same period in 2016 and 10% more than in 2015.
More vehicles are arriving through the Channel Tunnel and Port of Dover and using Ashford as a stop-off point after arrival and before departing the country.
Bosses say the growing pressure on the site underlines the case for its plans to expand to double in size to take in 600 lorries.
Darren Smith, general manager of Ashford International Truckstop, said: “Increasing the stop’s capacity would not only strengthen the local economy but also reduce the number of lorries illegally parking on Ashford’s roads.
“What we face is a supplyand-demand issue. We currently have the demand for spaces, but not enough spaces to match that demand.”
Details of the scheme for Waterbrook development went on show this week, indicating the planned expansion of the lorry park alongside plans for 400 homes on the 150-acre site.
It comes as a report released earlier this week warned Kent could be gridlocked after Brexit because of the need to have new arrangements for customs checks once the UK leaves the EU.
The report by the economic consultancy Oxera said the lack of lorry parks risked leaving the county exposed to the prospect of the semi-permanent instigation of Operation Stack as checks lasting 45 minutes on each lorry may be needed.
Darrell Healey, chairman of GSE Group, the owners of the Ashford International Truck-
‘We currently have the demand for spaces, but not enough spaces to match that demand’
stop, said: “The data showing the number of lorries coming to the site each week and the significant increase in these figures over the past year demonstrates the expansion is urgently needed.”
A hybrid planning application is due to be submitted in the next few weeks which will include detailed plans for the new truckstop and an outline application for the rest of the site.
Ashford International Truckstop