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Maidstone Integrated Transport Package Update
The Senior Project Manager introduced the report and stated that the Council’s Planning Committee would be considering Kent County Council’s (KCC) application to review the listed building consent required to progress the A20 Ashford Road/Willington Street scheme. The outcome would be reported to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) by the end of April 2022, for a decision on the required funding’s provision. The works were expected to commence from April 2023, subject to co-ordination with the A229 Loose Road junction with the A274 Sutton Road scheme.
In relation to the A249 Bearsted Road Major Infrastructure Project, planning consent had been achieved for the Heavy Goods Vehicle link to Newham Court Road. Due to the project’s delay, the schemes design had been reviewed with several changes made to improve the scheme. The changes were outlined, which included the provision of a dual carriageway between the A249 and Bearsted Road roundabouts. A formal opinion would be obtained from KCCs Planning Department on the achievement of the dual carriageway within permitted development rights.
A higher retaining wall on the north side of Bearsted Road would be required, but it was hoped that landscaping could be achieved behind 75% of the wall.
The designs for the amended scheme were being produced to allow the works to commence once the other required consents were achieved, with an expected start date of May 2022 over a 12-month period. Residents would be updated when possible.
A two-stage procurement process had begun for the A20 Coldharbour Roundabout/A20 London Road – Hall Road Scheme, with a contractor to be appointed in October 2022 to commence the works in January 2023. The works would be co-ordinated with the A249 Bearsted Road Major Infrastructure Project to minimise any adverse impact on the M20 corridor.
The experimental traffic regulation order (TRO) for the closure of Cranbourne Avenue, in relation to the A229 Loose Road junction/A274 Sutton Road scheme, had been implemented in March 2022. KCC would continue to respond to comments from local resident’s following its installation. The traffic flow to the surrounding road network would be monitored and subsequently used to verify the scheme’s purpose. The remaining works were due to start in Spring 2023.
The A229 Loose Road Junction/Armstrong Road scheme works would commence in September 2022, to be completed by Christmas 2022 and would take place alongside the minor Sheals Crescent junction works. The A229 Loose Road Junction/Cripple Street/Boughton Lane scheme had been redesigned following consultation with local Ward Members, to reduce the impact to shop fronts and was being costed. The scheme would struggle to achieve benefits for the local road network.
In response to questions, the Senior Project Manager stated that the local Councillors would be consulted on the retaining wall’s landscaping within the A249 Bearsted Road scheme. The wall’s design and the construction environmental management plan would be shared once available. It was confirmed that the amended design reduced vegetation loss in places. Maidstone Cycle Campaign Forum had been and would continue to be informed about the improved cycle facilities within the amended design.
The Senior Project Manager stated that there was no intention to re-open Cranbourne Avenue during the delivery of the A229 Loose Road junction/A274 Sutton Road scheme.
The prioritisation of the schemes within the Maidstone Integrated Transport Package (MITP) that were subject to time-restricted funding was reiterated.
The Board expressed support for the progress made on the MITP and strongly reiterated the importance of its continuation. Several Members expressed concerns over the cost benefit ratio of the amended design for the A229 Loose Road Junction/Cripple Street/Boughton Lane scheme, when compared to the other proposed junction improvements.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.