Preferred route for the Northern Relief Road ruled out
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12 Jan 2010Those eagle eyed residents amongst you may have already seen from the consultation documentation on Stones Farm that Swale Borough Council’s and Bapchild Parish Council’s preferred route for the Northern Relief Road has already been ruled out on cost grounds ahead of the actual consultation for the road due to be held in February.
This effectively leaves just two remaining options and looking through the consultation document it does lean towards the central route as none of the suggested road plans shows a route that resembles that of the ‘Western Route’
This obviously casts doubt over the impartiality of forthcoming consultation on the route of the road, if the County Council have already made a predetermined decision on one or more of the potential routes.
Click on map for larger image
Surprisingly Mr Sharpe seeks to justify the omission of the Northern Route, but it must be pointed out that there is a conflict of interest here as both the Central and Western Routes would be more beneficial for his client.
Mr Sharpe states
“Although the “northern route” is shown on the Proposals Map of the Local Plan it has never been approved, accepted or safeguarded by the County Highway Authority.”
“Initial pre-Development Brief discussions with the Borough and County Council Officers revealed that, following detailed investigation, the “northern route” has effectively ruled itself out on engineering and cost grounds and that the preparation of a Development Brief for Stones Farm would not prejudice decisions yet to be made regarding the alignment of the SNRR between East Hall Farm and the A2.”
Whilst KCC as the Highways Authority have not approved or safeguarded the route, Swale Borough Council certainly did in the Local Plan where it stated
“With regard to the southern section joining East Hall Farm to the A2, the Borough Council’s preferred route option is shown as safeguarded on the Proposals Map. It travels eastwards from East Hall Farm, crossing the railway line at a point to the north-east of Bapchild, and joining the A2 to the east of Bapchild Cricket Club. It is proposed that the railway will be crossed by way of a tunnel, rather than a bridge, which will make the road less visually intrusive in the landscape.”