Published: 19:23, 08 October 2020
| Updated: 19:43, 08 October 2020
The government has confirmed a list of 10 Brexit lorry parks - and it includes TWO in Ashford.
Residents have known since the summer that a 66-acre site in Sevington next to Junction 10a of the M20 is being turned into a HGV holding area and customs checkpoint.
But now the government has revealed part of the nearby Waterbrook Park estate off the A2070 Bad Munstereifel Road is also set to be used.
The park is already home to the town's truckstop but ministers want to turn part of the estate into a contingency customs check site and "potentially for traffic management purposes".
From the end of the transition period on December 31, the lorry parks will be used to process paperwork before truckers continue their journey.
And in the event of disruption at Dover and Eurotunnel, both Ashford sites will also be holding areas for HGVs to avoid queues on the M20.
The number of trucks able to be stored at Waterbrook is not yet known, but up to 1,700 HGVs could be parked up on the Sevington site for six months, reducing to 950 after July 2021.
In a letter due to go out tomorrow to residents living nearby, MP Rachel Maclean confirms the government is working on two Ashford sites.
"Alongside the Sevington site, HMRC will be seeking approval for the development of an inland border facility at the nearby Waterbrook site at Ashford," she writes.
"Both sites are being progressed to ensure that one of them will be available for January 1 2021, and the current intention is that the Sevington and Waterbrook inland border facilities will not be operational at the same time."
Mrs Maclean adds that from Monday, the government will be running a 14-day public consultation until October 26.
Residents will be able to assess the plans on a new website and read an online information booklet.
Like with the Sevington plot, the government is set to use Special Development Order at Waterbrook, which allows the Secretary of State to grant planning permission.
It means ministers will not need to submit a planning application to Ashford Borough Council.
On the Sevington site - which has been dubbed MOJO - the northern section of the development will initially be used for HMRC customs checks from January 1, with the southern part close to Church Road becoming a holding area for lorries in case there is disruption at the ports.
It is expected HMRC and Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) will continue to check lorries on the land until 2025.
All vehicles accessing the spot will have to use Junction 10a and drivers will be fined if caught using other routes.
Mrs Maclean adds: "Archaeological studies have also been taking place since August in conjunction with Kent County Council.
"The investigations have provided a range of results with some areas lacking in archaeological remains and other areas providing findings dating from the Anglo-Saxon and prehistoric period.
"Investigations are ongoing in tandem with construction works on the site, and further analysis is currently being undertaken on the artifacts that have been recovered."
The 10 confirmed lorry parks across the country:
*Will also be required for July 2021
**Subject to securing planning permission