Concern as relief road decision is put on hold

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18 Mar 2011
PLANS to complete the final section of Sittingbourne's northern relief road have been put on hold.

Members of the Swale Joint Transportation Board recommended no further progress on the missing link until Kent County Council (KCC) comes forward with an alternative proposal to move traffic to the M2.

The outcome of the debate will be reported to KCC's cabinet member for environment, highways and waste Bryan Sweetland who has the final say on whether or not the scheme is given the go-ahead.

Four possible routes were identified for the link from the next phase of the road across Milton Creek which is due to be finished in the autumn, to the A2 east of Sittingbourne. 

They were the northern route which would run parallel to the railway, the central route which would lead traffic out on to the A2 opposite Bapchild fruit stall, the western route which would take traffic through Stones Farm and out on to the A2 by Bapchild cricket club, and a combined route encompassing the central and western proposal.

County councillor Mike Whiting, chairman of the board, asked for the report to go before members on Monday night on the results of a three-month consultation carried out by KCC last year.

The consultation was based on whether people were in favour of completing the final part, the need for bypassing Bapchild and to give residents the chance to see the four options.

Results from a questionnaire within the consultation revealed a 50-50 split for and against completion of the scheme, which aims to ease traffic in Sittingbourne.

Andy Hudson

Bapchild parish council opposed all options and chairman Andy Hudson says the board's recommendation means the scheme could still go ahead.

He said: "It doesn't resolve anything. As far as Bapchild is concerned it's been kicked into the long grass and we're left in limbo because we don't know what they may now propose. This is just on hold.

"We want them to look at how the traffic flows once the middle section has opened this year, we want to know if there's a benefit in connecting it."