Published: 17:27, 23 August 2021
| Updated: 09:50, 24 August 2021
A planned customs clearance park is expected to be far smaller, holding 12 times fewer lorries.
Chairman Tracey Creed told parishioners in an online letter: "The Inland Border Facility at the White Cliffs site is still to proceed.
"The site, however, is anticipated to be significantly smaller than that of the original projection.
"The 96 drive in drive out lorry bays and further 20 reverse parking bays will be constructed to the west of the Roman Road.
"We have been provided with no information as to what will happen to the other three-quarters of land on this site. HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) have confirmed that they have no intentions of building on this section of land."
Mrs Creed's letter added that where Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) was concerned all checks in relation to animals will no longer be carried out at the White Cliffs site.
An alternative location is currently under negotiation, in the Whitfield area and not in Guston parish.
The letter, dated August 13, says the parish council received information on all this from an online meeting with HMRC that day.
It adds that the site will no longer be temporary but long term. This will be until December 2025 and a full planning application will be needed after that to try to keep it going.
As well as the 96 lorry spaces, there will also be 20 reverse parking bays and 140 parking spaces for staff.
The site will be operational 24 hours a day and full construction is to begin next February or March.
A Government spokesman told Kent Online: “We have reviewed plans for the border facilities in Kent needed to undertake inspections on EU goods
“HMRC is working closely with the planning authority on the submission of a Special Development Order (SDO) for the White Cliffs site for customs checks, and as part of this there will be an estimated two week public engagement period (dates to be confirmed)."
It says SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) checks, to protect humans, animals, and plants from diseases, pests, or contaminants, can be done at a base in Sevington, Ashford or at the new smaller Whitfield site.
As for the expected 96 bays the Government spokesman added: "We have not released any figures about the exact size of the site, as this will be subject to us laying the SDO and Defra have not released details of their BCP (Border Control Post) at this stage.
"HMRC will however be located at the White Cliffs site already identified and announced by DfT Department for Transport)."
When the plans for the facility first came out last year there were protests from locals saying it would cause them too much disturbance.