Plan for Kent truck stop expansion with 400 homes gets go ahead

Plans for a mixed use development at Ashford International Truckstop in Kent including 400 new homes and 6,500 square metres of commercial space have been approved.

A visualisation of the redeveloped Ashford International Truckstop
A visualisation of the redeveloped Ashford International Truckstop

Ashford Borough Council has approved the hybrid plans, which would allow the facility to increase the number of trucks it can cater for from 350 to 600.

The plans also provide for new service facilities for truck drivers, 400 homes and 6,500 square metres of new commercial space. This would include offices, industrial floorspace, a superstore, drivethrough restaurants, a petrol station and car showrooms.

The application site covers 57 hectares of land near the junction of the A2070 with the M20 in Kent.

The plan also proposes 22 hectares of open space including a linear park to separate the the new homes from the commercial activities, ecological mitigation measures and drainage features.

Applicant and site owner GSE Group said it expected the plans to create almost 1,000 jobs.

The site is allocated for an expanded truck stop, commercial use and homes in the council’s draft local plan, which is currently going through the examination process.

A report by council officers said: "…given that that the plan is at an advanced stage, my view is that there is no impediment to determination of the application".

The planning report also called for the developers to produce an urban design framework to guide development on the site.

It said: "A framework can help deliver overarching ‘vision’ into placemaking by providing a clear steer to those taking forward future phase/parcel/plot level design and layout work."

Darrell Healey, managing director of GSE Group, said: "Across Kent there is a growing shortage of high quality commercial property. Waterbrook will help sustain Ashford by supporting the growth of existing local businesses and help attract new ones, creating jobs for the growing population."

GSE Group said it expects to start work on the new truck stop later this year.

Separately, a report released today by the National Audit Office said Highways England believes that contingency planning to cope with a build-up of lorries in Kent following Brexit "carries significant risk".

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