‘sup­port of Mps to ac­cess gov­ern­Ment fund­ing will be crit­i­cal’

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

KCC’s cab­i­net mem­ber for trans­port Cllr Matthew Bal­four is ex­pected to de­cide at his meet­ing at the end of this month to al­lo­cate fund­ing for his of­fi­cers to carry out a strate­gic im­pact assess­ment for a by­pass.

Traf­fic flows will be “mod­elled” to demon­strate there is a busi­ness case for a re­lief road. A re­port on that is ex­pected in the spring, af­ter that, if the mod­el­ling sup­ports a by­pass, of­fi­cials will in­ves­ti­gate pos­si­ble routes.

But of­fi­cers are un­likely to look for the op­por­tu­nity for a dual car­riage­way, as pre­vi­ously put for­ward in the 1990s, rather they would be look­ing for a sin­gle car­riage­way 50mph road.

Even this modest road was likely to cost a min­i­mum of £55m, prob­a­bly ris­ing to £75m with in­fla­tion be­fore it could be de­liv­ered.

With­out gov­ern­ment sub­sidy, a re­lief road could not go ahead with­out sub­stan­tial Sec­tion 106 con­tri­bu­tions from devel­op­ers, im­ply­ing yet more hous­ing de­vel­op­ment.

But Cllr Cooke said the gov­ern­ment had an­nounced a £1bn fund for strate­gic in­fra­struc­ture im­prove­ments.

He said: “If the strate­gic assess­ment proves pos­i­tive, as I’m sure it will, that is when the sup­port of our MPs to ac­cess that gov­ern­ment fund­ing will be crit­i­cal.”

Gary Cooke

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