Published: 08:51, 28 December 2017
A popular garden centre on the edge of Ashford will close next month to make way for the new junction 10a.
The Willesborough Wyevale site, just off the A20 opposite the Pilgrims Hospice, will shut on Sunday, January 14.
Managers made the announcement at a staff meeting last week.
Don Sweatman, who runs Sweatman Mowers next to Wyevale, says he has failed to find new premises for his business, which will have to be demolished along with the garden centre.
“I haven’t been able to find anywhere else to go,” he said.
“We are in limbo and it is all up in the air at the moment.
“I have asked Highways England if they had any obligation to help me find another place but I have had no reply. I don’t want to move out of Ashford.”
Construction of the multimillion-pound junction is expected to start in the new year before opening in summer 2019.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling gave the project – which will be built 700 yards east of the current junction – the green light earlier this month.
Mr Sweatman, 70, moved into his current premises in 1989.
“It is all purpose built and I don’t want to move anywhere,” he added.
“It is hard to find somewhere suitable because it is quite a unique business – I need an open area to power wash things down and sell stuff, but also an inside area too. It is a very good spot where I am at the moment and I am still busy.”
Highways England spokesman Jack Tappin said the authority has been in contact with the businesses.
He said: “The M20 junction 10a scheme will provide infrastructure to support development in the Ashford area as well as reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability and safety.
“We understand it can be stressful for property owners to find out that their property will be affected by a road scheme and we want to work with them to find a solution that will be acceptable for everyone.
“We have been liaising with people who own property within the M20 junction 10a scheme boundary, including the Wyvale Garden Centre and Sweatman Mowers at Ashford, to discuss a way forward and are keen to continue to work with them to reach an agreement that will not put anyone in a difficult position.”
It is not yet known whether Wyevale will move to another site in the town.
Pilgrims Hospice bosses say the charity will work to keep disruption to a minimum when construction of the junction begins.
Chief executive Cate Russell said: “Our priority is always to ensure the comfort of those in our care and their families and friends.
“We have been working closely with Ashford Borough Council and Highways England to make sure patients and their families are not affected by the ongoing road changes.
“Both authorities have been very sensitive to our needs, which we are very grateful for.
“We are aware of further planned road changes and also of the accepted planning application for the land between Hinxhill Road and Hythe Road.
“Our priority will continue to be to work in partnership with the authorities to ensure there is as little disruption to our service users as is possible.
“We have made practical suggestions for ways in which any future works on our doorstep can be managed to ensure this.
“It is not our intention to inconvenience visitors at any time, although at times there may be some restrictions to road access that we will have to accommodate.
“Those involved have given us their assurance that any approved works would be done so with that in mind.”
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