Kent

Operation Stack: Kent lorry park to get funding boost

Operation Stack Image copyright PA
Image caption During Operation Stack lorries are parked on the M20 and non-freight traffic diverted off the motorway

A proposed lorry park to reduce congestion from queuing trucks on the M20 in Kent is to get a funding boost.

A sum of £3m has been allocated from the government's Local Growth Fund for the 3,300-space scheme.

It is aimed at relieving pressure caused by Operation Stack, when trucks are allowed to queue due to delays at Channel Tunnel and ferry ports.

Dover Western Docks has been awarded £5m, with a similar amount going to Folkestone seafront development.

The Local Growth Fund of £12bn was set up to allow local enterprise partnerships to apply for money for transport, housing and other local projects.

'A bonkers proposal'

Kent County Council said its proposed lorry park at Westenhanger would be commercially viable when in operation.

The council said it would be using its capital, as well as a £12.7m loan, to fund construction.

A spokesman said it would also relieve pressures arising from "inappropriate overnight lorry parking".

But the scheme was described as "bonkers" by David Monk, Conservative leader of Shepway District Council.

"Kent County Council originally proposed a 450-space lorry park, but it reduced this to 300 following its own environmental concerns and in the face of our objections," he said.

"Now we are faced with a bonkers proposal to create a 3,000-space lorry park that will be used at most four times a year. It's ridiculous."

A new signalling system at Ashford International station is also to benefit from £2m from the fund.

Rochester Airport is to receive £4.4m, helping to create up to 1,000 jobs, Medway Council said.

A planning application to remove one of the two grass runways and to construct a new hard-surfaced runway is being considered.

Paul Carter, Conservative leader of Kent County Council, said: "We have already created thousands of new jobs and boosted business through the first wave of government Growth Fund money and are well set to reap the benefits of more jobs, a stronger economy and improved infrastructure from the latest round of funding."

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