The Consultation Documents

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14 Feb 2010

The plans for the above scheme were exhibited in Bapchild on 12th and 13th February 2010.  All the plans displayed at the exhibition are included here for people to reference.  Copies of the plans have been deposited with Swale Borough Council and may be viewed at their offices.

Be warned some of these documents are quite large and all are in PDF format.

The list of plans is as follows:

Scheme Plan (2,667 KB)
Shows the basic detail of the route including embankments, bridges, junctions, footway provision etc.

Location Plan (6,128 KB)
Shows the scheme location in relation to the rest of the Northern Relief Road across Sittingbourne.

Previous Routes (3,645 KB)
Shows the principles of the previous routes considered by Swale Borough Council in 2003 for the Local Plan, with the County Council’s proposed scheme superimposed.

Landscaping (2,220 KB)
Shows the basic detail of hedgerow and tree planting, water management (to drain the road) with footway / cycleway links and mitigation measures associated with the scheme.

Traffic Flows (2,531 KB)
Shows base year (2007) and predicted future year (2026) traffic flows on the network, indicating how the scheme affects traffic on local roads.

Noise (2,906 KB)
Shows the predicted change in noise levels at selected locations with the scheme.

Pollution (2,905 KB)
Shows the predicted change in key pollutants (PM10 and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particles (PM10) at selected locations with the scheme.

Stones Farm (2,471 KB)
Shows how the proposed development at Stones Farm could be integrated with the County Council’s proposed scheme. Note: The Parish Council would suggest that this drawing is mearly indicative of a concept and should not be taken as a literal interpretaion of the division between the developable area and that of the open space, which is quite clearly wrongly apportioned here.


In addition to the Plans, two sets of explanatory text were also displayed along with a questionnaire for people to complete.

Route Review


The Northern Route is now estimated at £46.5 million.  A structure over the Railway Line has significant impact on the landscape.  Going under the Railway Line has equally significant environmental impacts, in that the surrounding area is designated as “at risk of flooding” by the Environment Agency. In addition, as a general policy, Network Rail is reluctant to approve new structures for projects that go under the railway.  In traffic terms the route would reduce traffic flows in Bapchild by about 25%.  It is unlikely this scheme is deliverable due primarily to the high costs.

The Central Route is now estimated to cost £16.5 million.  It has environmental / landscape implications by crossing the Country Park and Conservation Area.  In traffic terms the route would also reduce traffic flows in Bapchild by about 25%.  This scheme is potentially deliverable if the environmental concerns can be mitigated.

The Western Route is now estimated to cost £15 million.  It has some landscape implications but has by far the least impact on the environment of the three schemes.  In traffic terms it would increase traffic flows in Bapchild by some 20%.  This scheme is more deliverable but makes traffic conditions in Bapchild worse.

The Combined Route (Central and Western) is estimated to cost £20.5 million.  It carries the environmental / landscape implications of the Central Route.  In traffic terms it provides a complete bypass to Bapchild thereby reducing traffic flows to just village traffic only.  This scheme is potentially deliverable if the environmental concerns can be mitigated.

Summary

The review of the routes has not revealed a “best” option across all aspects (financial, environmental, traffic).  Any route selected therefore has to have an element of judgement which balances the various factors.  The County Council is putting forward for comment the Combined Route which is deliverable and has the greatest local traffic benefits. 


Scheme purpose and objectives

The purpose of the Northern Relief Road is to improve urban conditions in Sittingbourne, enabling regeneration, linking the A249 to the A2.

The Northern Relief Road is being constructed in sections with phase three currently under way.  The East Hall Farm to Bapchild section is the final phase of the project.

The objectives of the Bapchild section of the route are to complete the strategic link to the A2 and to provide local traffic relief to Bapchild.

History

Previous work carried out for the Borough Council in 2002 to inform the Local Plan looked at three possible routes – Northern, Central and Western options. The Northern route was subsequently shown in the Local Plan as an indicative alignment.

At the Local Plan Inquiry in 2006 Kent County Council gave an undertaking to review the previous route options and bring forward a scheme for public consultation. This exhibition describes the scheme that has been developed.

The review looked at greater detail on highway design, construction costs and site constraints.  This has shown that the Northern Route would be much more expensive than originally thought and has significant environmental impacts. The Central Route is less than half the cost of the Northern Route, but has more serious environmental impacts. The Western Route is the cheapest of the three options, and has little environmental impact. Compared to the scheme objectives however, only the Northern and Central Routes provide any traffic relief to Bapchild.

The potential exists to combine elements of both the Central and Western Routes together and provide a different option which achieved all of the scheme objectives, at a reasonable cost, albeit with significant environmental impact.  It is this scheme which the County Council has developed for public comment.

Finance

The scheme is estimated to cost in the region of £20 million.  It is proposed that funding would be by development that directly benefits from the relief generated by the full scheme.  Negotiations on the detail of this will be carried out with individual developers.  It may be necessary to put a package of funding together, including public finances to complete the scheme.

What Happens Next

This exhibition is being mounted to give local people the opportunity to comment on the scheme presented by the County Council.  Views gathered will be reported to Members for a decision.  The reports will all be made public and disseminated through the Borough and Parish Councils for further discussion at their meetings.



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