Published: 14:53, 07 November 2020
| Updated: 16:46, 07 November 2020
Work on a huge post-Brexit lorry park is running behind schedule after heavy rain forced contractors to down tools.
The Department for Transport says it had to suspend construction of the 1,700-space facility in Ashford earlier this week "to manage surface water levels".
Contractors are now having to extend their hours to make up for lost time with less than two months to go until the end of the transition period.
If the Sevington site isn't ready for January 1, part of the nearby Waterbrook Park will be used, but the estate is further from Junction 10a of the M20 and will lead to more congestion on the A2070 dual carriageway.
In a letter sent to residents on Friday, Haroona Chughtai, deputy director of the 'future EU roads relationship', confirmed work was paused on the 66-acre Sevington plot earlier this week.
"As you may be aware, due to heavy rain earlier this month work had to be suspended on the Sevington Inland Border Facility site to manage surface water levels," she said.
"As a result of this, and to meet demanding timescales, the on-site team is now looking to extend their working hours to include working on Sundays.
"The Department for Transport has consulted with Ashford Borough Council which has accepted this."
Ms Chughtai said Sunday work on the site will include pond excavation at the northern end.
"This excavation work is likely to take place in early November and will necessitate some topsoil movement between the two parcels of land," she said.
"As set out previously there is no planned development on the parcel of land to the east of Highfield Lane, and limited impact is expected on residents to the east of the site.
"Once excavation works have been completed, Sunday work from November will include the construction of modular buildings in the central and south-west section of the site."
"The planned works will commence on November 8, which we appreciate is Remembrance Sunday and we will respect the sensitivities of that day."
Ms Chughtai says the extended working hours will be restricted between 9am and 5pm on Sundays.
"We are committed to operating between those hours to ensure minimum disturbance to the local community," she said.
"Saturday work is already in place and will continue to be restricted to 7am to 5pm.
"We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this may cause."
"If you have any queries about the scheduled works at Sevington Inland Border Facility, please contact RoadsEUExit@dft.gov.uk."
Last month, Grant Shapps, the Secretary of State for Transport, visited the site with Ashford MP Damian Green, Kent County Council leader Cllr Roger Gough and Ashford Borough Council deputy leader Cllr Paul Bartlett.