Plans to build a new £70m junction on the M20 at Ashford have gone out to consultation following the acceptance of the application for a development consent order by the Planning Inspectorate.
The new junction 10a is proposed around 700 metres east of the existing junction 10. It will use two bridges and connect to the existing A20 and a new dual carriageway link road built to the A2070 near Sevington.
The estimated £70m cost of the project is being met by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and Highways England, with the remaining contributions to be funded by developers in due course.
Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “The authority will be a consultee on this application but we welcome the news that the application has progressed to the next stage. This is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and one of the priority projects that we wish to see come forward.”
Damian Green, MP for Ashford, said: “Junction 10a is a project of national importance, enhancing both the motorway itself and the future prosperity of Ashford. The benefits of this will be to improve local infrastructure, ease the pressure on the existing junction 10 and unlock the opportunities for future job creation. Ashford is all about improving local services, supporting businesses and helping maintain a high quality of life for everyone, and I welcome the progress being made.”
Jo James, Chief Executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, said: “So much economic activity has been locked up while we waited for this project to come forward and with this announcement the brakes will finally come off these investments.”
Ashford Borough Council has long campaigned for the delivery of extra road transport capacity to cater for the town’s future needs. Junction 10a is seen as another piece of the borough’s integrated transport infrastructure jigsaw to fall into place. The town already has excellent rail, road, air and sea links providing businesses with easy access to 360 million consumers across Europe. Its unrivalled connectivity is a key reason Ashford was voted the best place to do business in Kent.
These include the high-speed domestic rail service which links Ashford with London St Pancras in just 38 minutes. The new M20 junction will provide the capacity needed to enable a major programme of economic and commercial development and house building to proceed.