A scheme to build junction 10a on the M20 in Kent has been given the go ahead after receiving government funding.
The South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) has secured £442.2 million of government funds to boost economic growth across Kent, Medway, East Sussex and Essex. More than £35m of this will be put towards J10a, with the Highways Agency broadly matching this sum.
In addition SELEP is handing over £9.3m to improve the A28 Chart Road in Ashford. This will help to tackle congestion on the A28 and create access to the proposed Chilmington Green development, which includes 5,750 homes, commercial and retail outlets, schools and community facilities.
Work on both schemes is expected to start in 2016-17.
Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “Junction 10a is a nationally significant project and will provide much-needed capacity and improve road safety. We look forward to working with our partners to deliver this as soon as possible.”
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 come off these investments. The chamber has worked long and hard with the borough council to make this a reality and I’m thrilled it has happened.”
Damian Green MP said: “Junction 10a is one of the most significant advances for Ashford in 20 years. Not since the arrival of international rail services has the area had such a boost from outside. J10a will unlock job-creating developments in the local area and will take pressure away from the existing Junction 10. It will bring jobs, better infrastructure for local services and help maintain the quality of life in and around Ashford.”
Ashford Borough Council has long campaigned for the delivery of extra capacity to relieve the existing Junction 10 and to cater for the town’s future needs. An interim scheme had been proposed as a stepping stone towards the full J10a project but the announcement committing to the full junction has been hailed as a major achievement.
Clarkson added: “Without J10a in place, future economic growth would have been stifled. News that the scheme is going ahead will bring real confidence that we will have the road capacity needed to enable a major programme of economic and commercial development and house building.”
Junction 10a will be constructed about half a mile south of the existing Junction 10.