Europe's largest truckstop opens in Kent but will it solve the lorry parking crisis?

A new truckstop, the largest in Europe, which will be able to take up to 650 lorries has been officially opened in Kent.

The new facility has been unveiled on Friday 3 December at Ashford International, by The Rt Hon. the Baroness Vere of Norbiton. It will formally open to drivers on Tuesday 7 December 2021.

The 'state of the art' lorry park is located near (J10/10A) M20, so will be the first or last stop for many drivers as they enter or leave the UK. It's hoped the new park will reduce pressure on the existing facility.

The new lorry park is located near (J10/10A) of the M20

Hauliers have been calling for better facilities in Kent, where trucks have been parking illegally on verges and in residential roads.

GSE Waterbrook Ltd took over Ashford International Truckstop (AIT) in 2004. The truckstop was built to serve the growing demand upon the completion of the Eurotunnel.

Since then, it has changed hands, and is currently managed by GSE Group.

The Rt Hon. the Baroness Vere of Norbiton

Around 17,000 freight lorries travel through Kent every day, with illegal parking on verges and residential roads in the surrounding areas causing problems for years.

It is hoped the new truck stop will help solve some of those problems.

Trucker Jac Jacobs from Holland has been transporting goods across the Continent and the UK for 40 years. He said, "The new facilities are very good. From what I've seen, you need more places like this, not only in the UK but all over Europe.

"At the moment you have to park all over the place, in a lay-by- it's terrible. It's not even always safe as in the morning you get rid of your fuel so you need more facilities like this to rely on all over Europe."

The £30 million facility will open to drivers on Tuesday 7 December

The new facilities include:

  • Fully-fitted out kitchen and restaurant serving freshly cooked meals 24/7

  • Bar

  • Games room

  • Relaxation and wi-fi booths

  • Laundry

  • Toilet and shower facilities (male and female)

  • Shop

  • 6 bedrooms

  • State-of-the-art gym

  • Coffee station

  • Electric hook ups for refrigerated lorries

Report by ITV's Tom Savvides

Roads minister, Baroness Vere said, "We know so many trucks go through Kent to make important journeys across the Channel, and we need somewhere for them to park up and rest for overnight stays. This development is absolutely fantastic.

"It's bright, it's airy, it's got food and showers, and actually it's a very nice place to stay overnight.

"This replaces an existing truck stop quite close by, except it's bigger and better. There is an issue with parking across the country for lorries and we do need to address that, and the Government is looking at what we can do with planning permission. We have a fund of £32 million to help find more lorry parks because it's so important we look after our truckers because they do so much for us.

"There is a lack of drivers, a small part is potentially because of drivers going back after Brexit, but actually this is a long-standing problem. There is a shortage of drivers in the majority of European countries and most of the US. But the key to getting drivers back to driving and getting new drivers into the system is making sure we look after them."

"We need to look after our drivers, and we need to pay them properly to make sure they can do their jobs so they get our goods where we need them."

Accommodation provided at the new Truck Stop

Darren Smith, Operations Director for Truck Stop said, "The purpose of the truck stop is to give drivers rest and security in Kent before they travel abroad or into the UK.

"It's one of the busiest parks in the country for HGV drivers, and with them having to do Covid tests, there's a much greater need to stop and stay in the area. It ensures drivers have enough rest, comfort, for their onward journey and keeps the roads safe.

"We've had to go through the planning stages, and with Brexit, it's long overdue, but we've worked as quick as we can within the county."

How much will it cost to park?

How much will it cost to park?

0-45 mins Free 0-45 minutes no charge

2-24 hours Monday-Sunday £32.50 Inclusive of a £6.00 voucher*, full use of amenities and a free shower.

Each additional 24 hr Period/ Part thereof £32.50 Inclusive of a £6.00 voucher*, full use of amenities and a free shower.

Dropped Trailers £37.00 Each 24 hr period/part thereof. We will secure the unit. Inclusive of a £6.00 voucher*, full use of amenities and a free shower.

2 Day Weekend (Saturday arrivals only) £60.00 £60.00 per Sat & Sun weekend period. Inclusive 2 x £6.00 vouchers* full use of amenities and a free shower.

Car/ Van £19.00 2-24 hours. Inclusive of a £6.00 voucher*, full use of amenities and a free shower.

Flexi Park £1.50 Per hour Day Park Mon - Fri 05.00 - 21.00. £1.50 per hour up to a maximum of 16 hours within this period. After 21.00 the 24 hours charge will apply.Day park Sat/ Sun - 0-2 hours ONLY (anytime) £1.50 per hour. (Maximum 2 hours only) after the 2 hours the 24 hour charge will apply.

Shower Use Throughout the pandemic showers will be free for all parks. Throughout the pandemic showers will be free for all parks.

Reservations Day Charge as above.

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