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Kent council has overestimated truck parking demand, claims truckstop manager

  • 27 March 2014
  • By Chris Tindall

Kent County Council’s plan to open a network of lorry parks will “hit a brick wall”, according to the operator of Ashford International Truckstop, who said the council had overestimated the need.

Darren Smith, general manager of the HGV site, said the local authority’s idea of opening at least three 200-space parks would just damage existing truckstops.

The council is currently investigating sites where it could build lorry parks and it said it wanted private companies to operate them on its behalf.

The “network” idea replaces the original proposal to construct a 3,000-space mega park that could be utilised when Operation Stack was put into practice.

Smith admitted Ashford International was turning away up to 50 HGVs on a busy night and that one 150-space park would mop up the excess.

“I find it quite strange they want three lorry parks,” he said. “There aren’t enough trucks for three. They will go back to square one if they open too many. Is there enough space for the guys that want to park? No, but it’s not as greatly needed as three.”

Smith told CM in December he was awaiting the impact of the forthcoming HGV Road User Levy before pressing ahead with his expansion plans.

“I would leave it to the end of the year, see how the lorries will park after this tax comes in,” he said. “It could change big time, they could totally change their journeys around; quickly come in and out and park in France. That could hurt us.”

Kent County Council did not respond.

Today’s Commercial Motor magazine (27 March) features a quick reference guide to the HGV Road User Levy.


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