Less than a week after Ashford Borough Council voted unanimously for GSE Group to double the size of the Ashford International Truckstop at Waterbrook, near Junction 10 of the M20, the Government announced stronger planning support for truckstops.

In the revised NPPF’s section on Promoting Sustainable Transport, the Government now requires that:

  • Planning policies and decisions should recognise the importance of providing adequate overnight lorry parking facilities, taking into account any local shortages, to reduce the risk of parking in locations that lack proper facilities or could cause a nuisance.

The Department for Transport has acknowledged there’s an under supply of overnight parking for HGVs in Kent – a position also recognised by KCC and district councils.

As a result, it would suggest that any proposals to bring forward new lorry parking capacity, especially if located close to a motorway junction in Kent and Medway, would be widely welcomed. The key lessons from the failed proposals for the lorry park, near Stanford on the M20, is to ensure the scale of any new truck stop proposed doesn’t dominate the landscape and has community support.

There is a growing consensus that Kent needs a network of secure parking for HGVs, open 24 hours a day, to meet the growing number of vehicles coming through Channel ports. Offering capacity of 250 plus vehicles, these new lorry parks would be best located near to areas with high levels of HGV traffic, such as Dartford, Medway and Swale, keeping them away from Dover and Folkestone.

Truckstops, in terms of the facilities they offer, have moved on considerably in recent years. Safe and secure parking remains a priority, especially for those carrying high value goods, but it is increasingly about providing high quality facilities that provide proper respite for the drivers.

The detailed designs for the truckstop and commercial buildings at Waterbrook were developed by Canterbury-based Clague Architects, who worked closely with the Maidstone office of DHA Planning who took the lead on the planning application, environmental impact assessment and outline masterplanning for the site.


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