Lost lorries cause chaos in Kent village after being given wrong postcode for Brexit lorry park

Ellen Manning
·3 min read
Lorries in the small village of Mersham near Ashford, Kent. See SWNS copy NNvillage: Lost truckers are clogging up a small village because the government is giving them the wrong postcode for their new Brexit lorry park. Frustrated residents living in Mersham near Ashford, Kent, have seen their narrow country lanes blocked by HGVs that have been given incorrect directions. Around 30 lorries arrived in the village since the 66-acre lorry park opened for coronavirus testing on Monday.
Lorries are clogging up the village of Mersham near Ashford in Kent because they've got the wrong postcode for the Brexit lorry park. (SWNS)

A small village in Kent has been inundated with lost lorries looking for the new Brexit lorry park after they were reportedly given the wrong postcode.

Residents in Mersham near Ashford have been left frustrated as HGVs blocked narrow country lanes in and around their village while looking for the new lorry park at Sevington.

Villagers say around 30 lorries have ended up in the village since the 66-acre lorry park opened for coronavirus testing on Monday, causing chaos as they try to negotiate tight corners.

Footage and images taken by them show the vehicles meeting head-on and unable to move, with one clip showing a row of three lorries stuck down a narrow road.

The chaos comes after Christmas saw hundreds of lorries stuck in Kent when the French border was closed amid concerns about the new COVID variant.

Lorries in the small village of Mersham near Ashford, Kent. See SWNS copy NNvillage: Lost truckers are clogging up a small village because the government is giving them the wrong postcode for their new Brexit lorry park. Frustrated residents living in Mersham near Ashford, Kent, have seen their narrow country lanes blocked by HGVs that have been given incorrect directions. Around 30 lorries arrived in the village since the 66-acre lorry park opened for coronavirus testing on Monday.
Villagers have recorded the chaos caused by lorries being sent to the village. (SWNS)

According to council bosses, the situation is down to drivers being sent to the HGV facility at Sevington from the Eurotunnel terminal near Folkestone 20 miles away are being given the wrong postcode.

Instead of using TN24 0TP, which includes the entry point to the Sevington facility, drivers are being told to follow TN25 6GE, which sends them into Mersham.

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Resident Stewart Ross, who has lived in the village for 30 years, described the situation as a “fiasco”.

He said: “It's basic - even a primary school kid would get that right. Nobody in the village has blamed the drivers - we have always thought the problem is with the authorities as they haven't got their act together.

“It seems crazy no one made sure Eurotunnel was given the correct instructions for drivers that turned up without a negative test.”

Watch: Extra 800 troops sent to clear Kent lorry backlog

Ross, who used to work for the Ministry of Defence, said residents faced “total chaos” on Thursday evening when eight lorries arrived in the centre of the village - including five in the dead-end lane where he lives.

“Five HGVs ended up at the turning circle and, by the time they came back up, another three had arrived in The Street,” he said.

“Numerous people tried phoning the police who said 'speak to Highways England', but we couldn't find anyone who would accept responsibility.

“In the end, several villagers and two community police officers who happened to arrive on bicycles helped them manoeuvre.”

Lorries in the small village of Mersham near Ashford, Kent. See SWNS copy NNvillage: Lost truckers are clogging up a small village because the government is giving them the wrong postcode for their new Brexit lorry park. Frustrated residents living in Mersham near Ashford, Kent, have seen their narrow country lanes blocked by HGVs that have been given incorrect directions. Around 30 lorries arrived in the village since the 66-acre lorry park opened for coronavirus testing on Monday.
Apparently the council is working to get the wrong postcode changed. (SWNS)

Since Thursday’s logjam, he said no further HGVs had arrived because a highways official had been stationed on the A20 to stop any stray lorries from turning into the village.

Before Christmas, kind-hearted Mersham villagers were among people who lowered food from bridges over the M20 to truckers left stranded in Operation Stack.

Kate Agrell, who also lives in the village, said: “We have a good relationship with the hauliers, it's the government we have a problem with. Please listen to us.”

Ashford Borough Council's deputy leader Councillor Paul Bartlett confirmed hauliers had been using the wrong postcode.

On Thursday evening, he said Kent Police, Highways England and Eurotunnel were told about the problem so the information can “feed through to hauliers” and said the council would be following up with the government to ensure the correct postcode was on the website.

Watch: Businesses braced for Brexit changes