Wrotham truckstop:Road: M26 at J2A
(also accessible to traffic on the A20)
Location: Wrotham, Kent
Date planned: 2021-2022
Wrotham truckstop was a new proposal for a truckstop at M26 J2A, in Kent.
The proposal entered the consultation phase in 2021, but planning permission was refused in April 2022, on the grounds that it was an inappropriate use of the green belt and Kent Downs AONB. Numerous objections had been received from residents, referring to the noise and traffic.
The facility would have been built on green belt land close to both the M25 and the M20. A new roundabout would be provided on the A20, leading to a large forecourt, attached to a facilities building. A secured parking area for 195 HGVs would have been provided further round.
Moto said they had been examining numerous possible locations in Kent, with Kent County Council themselves having spent a lot of time researching HGV parking capacity in their county. They ruled out proposing a full motorway service area here because there is already suitable provision for cars, with a small number of car parking spaces here being made available for staff.
The subject of HGV parking in Kent has become especially tense and pertinent since Brexit changed the flow of trade through Dover - the M26 here is one of the appointed stacking points in the event of port disruption. In fact, right across the UK, this would be the first 'motorway truckstop' to be built since such a concept was formally defined in 2008, showing just how slowly things have moved.
As the regulations for truckstops are different to those for full service areas, a successful truckstop here could have qualified for signage from M20 J2 and J3, too.
The A20 London Road is the historic route to the coast, and has always been an important transport corridor.
Even once the M26 was eventually completed, its junction with the A20 was still a popular stopping point. A large lay-by (next to where Moto's new roundabout would be built) received heavy use, but was closed in 2020 as part of the Brexit contingency plan. The well-known Oakdene Café was positioned opposite and catered for a lot of HGVs and bikers, but this closed in February 2021 and is expected to be converted into industrial units.
Not long after the M26 was completed, Esso proposed building a service area in this very spot. They specifically said it wasn't trying to be a full motorway service area, but would have a restaurant building, car parking spaces and a forecourt. This was refused planning permission in 1992, with the appeal saying it would be inappropriate to build it on green belt land and an intrusion on the countryside.
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