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Ashford truckstop turns away 250 lorries on first night of clamping trial

By Dan Wright

The Ashford truckstop had to turn away a record number of lorries on Monday night when a controversial clamping trial began.

Bosses at the 300-space site, off Bad Munstereifel Road near Junction 10, say 252 HGV drivers tried to get into the park on the first night of the scheme.

Leaders at Kent County Council and Ashford Borough Council have joined forces to run the 18-month trial, which means lorries are no longer allowed to park overnight on the A20 between Charing and the Drovers roundabout.

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The trial began on Monday night. Picture Barry Goodwin

The trial began on Monday night. Picture: Barry Goodwin

Truckstop manager Darren Smith said: "To turn away 252 trucks was a crazy amount.

"We had 109 reservations for Monday night, and we usually only have about 30.

The ban is running from 8pm to 7am the following morning Monday to Friday – and drivers have to pay a £250 fine to get the clamp released.

"I wish we had more spaces for them, but at the moment we are at full capacity."

Manager Darren Smith

Manager Darren Smith

As well as the A20, the restriction is also in force on the Ashford Business Park and Orbital Park in Sevington, as well as at Ellingham Industrial Estate and Wotton Road.

Mr Smith added: "There isn’t anywhere for the drivers to park, so there is frustration which we can understand.

One of the clamped lorries. Picture Barry Goodwin

One of the clamped lorries. Picture: Barry Goodwin

"We thought we would be 100% full, but to turn away 252 trucks was an incredible amount.

"In the 13 years I have been here, Mondays and Fridays have usually been quiet nights, but we didn’t expect to be turning away 252 trucks as that is enough to fill another truckstop alone.

"The drivers know it is not our fault, but we just don’t have the space - I think the clamping trial will end up pushing them somewhere else."

The new truckstop will have 650 spaces

The new truckstop will have 650 spaces

Truckstop owners are preparing to submit a planning application to more than double the size of their site.

Bosses want to build an all-new truckstop with up to 650 spaces close to the railway line, which will see their current site demolished.

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