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, unveiled on Friday 3 December at Ashford International, by The Rt Hon. the Baroness Vere of Norbiton, formally opened 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.

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.

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 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

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."

Source: ITV News