Waterbrook plans approved
Plans to develop Waterbrook, the 140 acre site near junction 10 of the M20 at Ashford, have been given the unanimous go-ahead.
The plans see the doubling of HGV parking capacity at the Ashford International Truckstop, as well as new commercial property expected to create nearly 1,000 jobs, plus retail space, 400 homes and parkland. The proposals for Waterbrook, the land owned by Ashford-based GSE Group, were unanimously approved by Ashford Borough Council on Wednesday 18 July.
Darrell Healey, Managing Director of GSE Group, said: “This is great news for Ashford and Kent and is the combined efforts of our team working closely with the council’s planners. It will create a new business space and new homes for Ashford, as well as securing much-needed parking for lorries and new homes.
“Across Kent there is a growing shortage of high quality commercial property. Waterbrook will help sustain Ashford by supporting the growth of existing local businesses and help attract new ones, creating jobs for the growing population.”
GSE Group is expected to start work in September on the new, larger Ashford International Truckstop. When completed it will provide secure daytime and overnight parking for 600 HGVs.
During the construction programme, the existing truckstop will remain operational, helping minimise unlawful HGV parking in and around Ashford.
Forty five acres of Waterbrook will be developed for 70,000ft2 of new commercial space, alongside the existing Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency offices and planned Jaguar Land Rover dealership. When fully developed the commercial premises will provide employment for around 950 people.
To meet Ashford’s growing population, Waterbrook will include 400 new homes, which will be separated from the commercial property by a 13 acre linear park incorporating a small natural lake. A further 25 acres will be left undeveloped and schemes put in place to enhance the local ecology.
Recognising the need for local retail space, Ashford Borough Council has approved plans to develop a foodstore, as well as drive-through restaurants, plus a petrol filling station.
The proposed retail development will be convenient for residents and businesses at Waterbrook and nearby Finberry residents, providing day-to-day retailing, with a new link road and bridge over the River Stour.
DHA took the lead on the planning application, environmental impact assessment and outline masterplanning for the site. Jonathan Buckwell, who led the project said “This is a fantastic result for our client and for the people of Ashford who are currently suffering from the problem of illegal lorry parking. The committee’s unanimous vote demonstrates the value of putting together a high quality, comprehensive application package, supported by a robust Environmental Impact Assessment."
“The team assembled by DHA has worked tirelessly over several months to collate an application which made a compelling case for the development and addressed a number of challenges along the way.”
The detailed designs for the truckstop and commercial buildings at Waterbrook was developed by Canterbury-based Clague Architects,