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The opening of the new John Lewis at home store, in Fougeres Way, Ashford has created 'gridlock' at the Drovers roundabout

By Samantha Williams

Both customers and staff alike were 'buzzing' at the opening of the new John Lewis at home store in Ashford this morning.

However within hours of the opening of the new department store, which is situated on Fougeres Way, between junction 9 of the M20 and the Drovers roundabout, and people are already reporting traffic chaos.

Cars parked along the entrance road John Lewis

Bill Rose, Ashford, said: "Whose bright idea was it to have such a small car park at the new John Lewis. It's so busy today they have people [traffic management team] sending people away because the car park was full.

"I refused to leave and drove around the guy and carried on driving around the car park until a space was free."

Store manager Glynis Guning-Stevenson and staff get ready for the first customers

Despite the fact that the store's has 196 car parking spaces, some drivers struggled to park, and the Drover's roundabout is apparently in 'gridlock'.

Tenterden Town tweeted: "We understand that the Drovers roundabout in Ashford is fairly gridlocked ... new John Lewis store by any chance!"

Some drivers took to parking on the double yellow lines around the roundabout near the store.

Cars queuing to get in John Lewis
Cars parked along the entrance road John Lewis opening day

This morning's opening was made official when store manger Glynis Gunning-Stevenson cut the ribbon along with Terrie Kennor from Demelza and Laura Kennedy from Action On Hearing, two of John Lewis' chosen charities.

The first customer through the door, Anna Ward, was presented with a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne.

The Charing resident said: "I left the house at 7.45am this morning and was the first one in the car par.

"I've been looking forward to the new store opening for a while. It is exactly what Ashford needs."

Anna Ward was the first customer through the doors at John Lewis opening

Mrs Gunning-Stevenson, who prepped her team of more than 100 just before the doors opened, described the atmosphere in the store as 'buzzing'.

Staff get ready for the first customers John Lewis opening day

She said: "The car park has filled up nicely and we had customers queuing this morning before we opened. Everyone seems really excited, both customers and our partners, and the atmosphere really is buzzing."

John Lewis

The department store, which is filled with more than £3 million worth of stock, has created more than 100 job opportunities in the area.

The first item through the till this morning was a tin camping mug decorated with wildlife costing £8.

Two camping mugs were the first items purchased at John Lewis

Full report in next week's Kentish Express.

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