Published: 15:53, 14 December 2020
| Updated: 15:55, 14 December 2020
A huge post-Brexit lorry park being built next to the M20 won't be fully ready until the end of February, it has emerged.
The 66-acre site next to Junction 10a in Ashford was scheduled for completion by January 1 - the day Britain officially leaves the EU.
It is set to comprise two areas - one will be a holding area for up to 1,700 trucks, while the other will be a HMRC customs check facility.
But heavy rain, which has forced work to continue 24/7, will mean the customs side of the scheme won't be ready until late February.
Lorries will still be held on the Sevington plot if there is disruption at the ports, but the HMRC checks of HGVs will take place at the nearby Waterbrook Park estate, which is further from the M20.
Speaking to KentOnline today, Ashford MP Damian Green said: "Because of the rain, they are going to stand up the nearby Waterbrook site and operate it as a common transit convention site.
"HMRC activities that would've taken place at Sevington will be carried out there instead.
"They've said it should be for a maximum of up to eight weeks from January - so it should be finished by the end of February - but they are committed to the Sevington site as the permanent base."
Mr Green confirmed that only the customs side wouldn't be available from January 1, meaning lorries will still be held at the new park.
Waterbrook has been described as a 'back-up plan' since October, but the move will mean increased freight traffic on junctions surrounding the Orbital Park estate - including the notoriously busy 'McDonald's roundabout'.
"There'll certainly be more traffic than expected going round the roundabouts and Waterbrook," Mr Green added.
"I'm very concerned about that, and I've had an email from the minister saying they are 'aware of the traffic mitigation implications it could cause.'"
The Waterbrook Park estate is already home to the Ashford International Truckstop and is at the centre of plans for a huge distribution centre linked to online giant Amazon.
Meanwhile, tests of the Operation Brock contraflow system are ongoing on the M20 ahead of the January 1 transition date.