Published: 00:03, 13 October 2017
Bosses at the Ashford truckstop say they will solve the town’s lorry parking problem if their plans to expand are approved.
The HGV park off Bad Munstereifel Road near Junction 10 has room for 300 trucks, but managers have to turn away between 50 and 100 lorries every night.
They now want to build an all-new truck stop with up to 650 spaces close to the railway line – which will be double the size of their current facility.
Manager Darren Smith said: “An extra 300 spaces will solve the problem of lorry parking in Ashford.
“We haven’t got the room at the moment, which is why we want to solve the problem by building a brand new site.
“We won’t close our current site until the new one is built, so it means we will never close.”
Figures for June and July this year showed the park was operating at 97% capacity – 8% higher than the same period in 2016 and 10% more than in 2015.
More vehicles arriving through the Eurotunnel and Port of Dover use Ashford as a stop-off point after arrival and before departing the country.
Mr Smith said: “We are hoping, if we get it cleared, we can open our new site by April 2019.
“It is going to be a huge site as we already have 50 staff at the moment. We never close – we are operational 365 days a year.
“I think the new junction 10a would help, too, as the lorries would be able to come straight off the motorway and into the lorry park.
"It is going to be a huge site..." - Darren Smith
“At the moment, if the drivers can’t get in here, they haven’t got anywhere to go, but getting the planning permission would mean we have a lot more spaces.”
The Ashford International Truckstop expansion is part of the multi-million pound Waterbrook Park development, owned by the GSE Group.
Bosses are expected to submit a full application for the new truckstop within the next few weeks, along with an outline application for the rest of the site.
Managers at the Barretts Motor Group have already gained planning permission for a new £9m Jaguar Land Rover dealership at the site.
They will start construction in January next year and the building will be completed by the end of 2018.