Recently a member of the Shepwayvox Team attended the exhibition at Willesborough Community Forum. It was all about the new development of Junction 10a M20, which is to be built at a cost of £60.9m – £85.5m
After reading all the available material and listening to Ashford Borough Council [ABC] Officer, we have come to the conclusion that the only reason for junction 10A to be built is to assist the development of Sevington to accommodate what is believed to be an Amazon Distribution Warehouse; which will arrive sometime in 2020/21 along with a possible inland customs site next door, according to a well placed ABC Council Officer.
Rumours first emerged of Amazon interest in the site in 2014, when the local GMB branch got sight of a leaked Ashford Borough Council paper, which confirmed in writing, for the first time publicly, Amazon’s interest in the Sevington depot. John Bunnett – Chief Exec of ABC was said to be rather irate that confidential documents managed to find their way to the GMB.
Of course in true Council style, ABC denied the online retailer was planning a fulfilment centre on the boggy greenfields next to Sevington and Mersham villages.
2020/21 it’ll be announced.
As many of you who already commute by car know, J10 can be a nightmare in the mornings and evenings even after the so called “improvements”. Congestion will be moved, not reduced, pollution will increase, noise will increase, traffic will increase and the warehouse will be operational with 24 hour access for lorries in and out.
Access to the M20 Southbound will be via junction 10A, not J10, and the exit from the M20 Northbound will be via J10A, with a roundabout on Bad Munstreifel Road. This will greatly disrupt access for ambulances to the William Harvey’s A&E department, potentially putting lives of loved ones at risk. Our member questioned the Highways England representative about the access road from J10A to the hospital, and they explained they were concerned about this but William Harvey hospital chiefs, when we spoke with dismissed any concerns and said categorically the development would NOT put any lives at risk.
EKHUFT have begun discussing the closure of the A & E at the William Harvey Hospital and a potential new hospital in Canterbury. These discussion are in their infancy and their are developers waiting in the wings so we understand.
This is being explained away as cost cutting efficiency, as part of the Tory government’s austerity measures. And yet the same Tory government is offering to pay for an access road to the warehouse at a cost of £17million to you the taxpayer.
It is also worth noting that an Amazon warehouse will probably offer a few pennies more than the minimum wage; which will means jobs are further propped up by the taxpayer through working tax credits, which could reduce the average wage for Ashford, particularly for postal workers and delivery drivers, and that Amazon pays little tax in the UK.
Junction 10A and the warehouse are a perfect demonstration of how Big Business gets what it wants and get us the Taxpayer to pay for it.
This Tory government is deliberately putting lives at risk in order to pass taxpayer’s money to a Tax Dodging Company. Do we need the warehouse? Do we need junction10A? The answers to this are yes given that if we get a vote on Brexit we feel personally the Country will vote to leave. And given the ABC Officer hinted at a potential inland custom site at J10A, when the dust settles, we’re sure like the ABC officer both sites will emerge in 2020/21.
Finally if Operation Stack has to be used during this disruptive development what further congestion and misery will it bring for commuters and to the area up down the M20 corridor?