Urgent Urgent Update Report                                                                     14th July 2016

Land South of Sutton Road, Land North of Bicknor Wood, Bicknor Farm

(Relating to Item 13, pages 3-51; Item 17, pages 92 – 147; Item 18, pages 148-196)


Highway issues related to A274 development proposals


This short paper provides an update on highways matters and relates to all three A274 housing proposals being considered by planning committee this evening.

1.    Maidstone Joint Transport Board (JTB) on 13th July 2016 agreed that the following highways improvements to form part of the draft Integrated Transport Strategy (ITS):

·         A20/M20 Junction 5

·         A229/A274 Wheatsheaf

·         A20/Willington Street

·         A274/Willington Street and A274/Wallis Avenue

·         A20/Hermitage Lane

·         A20/Coldharbour Lane

·         A249 Bearsted Road and Bearsted Road/New Cut

·         A26/Fountain Lane

·         The removal of a previously proposed park and ride site at Linton and an existing park and ride site at M20 J7 (which had been in the previous draft).

·         The draft plan also acknowledged the Bridges Gyratory scheme which is

already being implemented.


The ‘Do Something’ model runs also included the following strategy

·         components (also referred to in Appendix B):-

·         A typical 10 minute bus frequency.

·         The discounting of walk/cycle trips to be based on a distance

·         threshold of 5km within the town centre.

·         A 50% increase in long-stay parking charges.



As shown in the Apportionment table and individual site mitigation, the A274 housing proposals propose to deliver the following improvements agreed by the JTB:

·         A229/A274 Wheatsheaf (see 2. below)

·         A20/Willington Street

·         A274/Willington Street and A274/Wallis Avenue

·         Bus improvements, including bus priority measures and provision of additional rolling stock.

·         Improvements to public rights of way and walking and cycling routes.

·         KCC is proposing similar improvements including A274/Willington Street and A274/Wallis Avenue, and A20/Willington Street as shown in Appendix A of this paper.


2.    Wheatsheaf junction mitigation

MBC’s highways consultants Mott MacDonald have devised a solution to mitigate the Wheatsheaf junction that does not include the closure of Cranbourne Avenue.  The developers have now agreed with this solution and have withdrawn their previous proposal to close Cranbourne Avenue as part of their mitigation.


3.    Downswood and Otham traffic surveys

The above surveys have been provided by KCC this morning. They show traffic counts for Green Hill, Otham and Mallards Way, Downswood for the period 13th -19th June 2015.  In summary they show:

Mallards Way

·         Total number of vehicles: 9,588 (over one week);

·         Mean Average vehicle Speed 21.2 mph

·         Without knowing postcodes it is not possible to say whether or not the drivers of vehicles exceeding 35 mph were local residents and/or regular commuters/visitors familiar with the road, but given the nature of the surrounding area it is possible that a significant percentage of said drivers would fall into one of these categories

·         Overall vehicle speeds are well below the posted speed limit of 30 mph, and it is recommended that no further action is required at this time.  

·         The road should be monitored to determine any increase in vehicle speeds and it is suggested that a second traffic survey be undertaken within the next 24-36 months and/or if the location should undergo any significant changes e.g. local housing development etc.

Green Hill

·         Total number of vehicles: 2,060 (over one week);

·         Mean Average vehicle Speed 22.4 mph

·         The data does not indicate a significant issue with vehicles travelling at excess speed at this location; however, the data does indicate that the area could be considered for a reduced speed limit of 20 mph, which would be considered suitable for what is a narrow country lane running through a rural village. 

·         If the County Member and or the Parish Councils would like to consider implementing a 20 mph speed limit, with or without additional measures such as 20 mph roundel road markings or other features, the cost to undertake a feasibility investigation and outline design for this would be £1,000.  The cost of any subsequent Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) would be a further £1860.  Assuming the TRO was implemented, the required 20 mph speed limit signs and road markings would be at extra cost.

Traffic Survey Conclusions:

The above surveys do not identify the postcode of each vehicle driver and therefore they do not provide clear evidence of ‘rat running’.

The relevant Transport Assessments have assessed the impact of the proposal upon the existing road network and do not consider the impact to be significant.

Notwithstanding the above, the Urgent Update Report suggests an additional Head of Term for the Section 106 agreement proposing monitoring of highways impacts on routes between A274 and A20 annually for a five year period.  Should mitigation be felt necessary by MBC, it would be provided via a sum of £200,000 split proportionately between H1 (7), H1 (8), H1 (9) and H1 (10).  As a consequence this Head of Term would allow the continuation of the monitoring suggested in the survey summaries and provide funding for mitigation if it is necessary.