Welcome relief with benefits all round

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22 Dec 2004
THE FIVE parishes' opposition group of Bapchild, Bredgar, Milstead, Rodmersham and Tunstall welcomes the news (Gazette, December 8) that funding has now been secured for the completion of the Sittingbourne Northern Relief Road linking the A2 east of the town to the A249 Sheppey Way.

It is also great news as it will unlock so many sites for development north of Sittingbourne, as confirmed by Greg Macdonald, programme director of the Swale Forward Group. Such development opportunities will render redundant the proposals for a major general business estate at Sittingbourne Research Centre (also known as Kent Science Park).

The group continues to support, along with Derek Wyatt and many local and county councillors, the idea of the economic expansion and consolidation of a true science park at KSP — but within the existing security fence.

We also suggest that, with the completion of the relief road now certain, Swale Council, Swale Forward Group and Kent County Council should focus on the vital task of a strategic alteration and improvement of the A249/M2 junction at Stockbury Valley. This in our view is hugely more relevant to the successful economic development of Sittingbourne and of the Isle of Sheppey than the spurious development proposed at the old research centre.

The development opportunities afforded on brownfield sites with the completion of the A249/Swale Crossing link to Sheppey and with the completion of the relief road must be seized, and the economic regeneration of Sheppey, which has been ignored for too many years, adopted as a primary objective. Iwade could also benefit, with nearby job creation supporting the large housing developments, existing and proposed, in that parish.

Claire Hutchins
Five Parishes Opposition Group