So­lu­tion to this traf­fic mis­ery must be found

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE -

Talks con­cern­ing the Leeds-Lan­g­ley re­lief road have rum­bled on for at least 20 years, but the time for de­bate has now passed. False starts and end­less dis­cus­sions have only served to en­trench the truth ex­pressed by county coun­cil­lor Paul Cooper af­ter the most re­cent meet­ing: Most are in favour of a by­pass and most are in favour of it be­ing nowhere near them. Res­i­dents around Downswood want a by­pass to ease noise and pol­lu­tion while Lan­g­ley Parish Coun­cil be­lieves it won’t solve prob­lems on Sut­ton Road and will sim­ply cre­ate many more, as well as paving the way for more hous­ing.

The re­lief road has be­come some­thing of a po­lit­i­cal hot potato and there is no way of pleas­ing ev­ery­one, but as with many of Kent’s lin­ger­ing in­fra­struc­ture dilem­mas we ap­proach a time when any de­ci­sion is bet­ter than this morass of un­cer­tainty.

There will only be one chance to de­liver a vi­able scheme, yet it will con­cern some that the plans have al­ready been wa­tered down. The in­di­ca­tions now are that a re­lief road wouldn’t even come in the form of a dual car­riage­way as was orig­i­nally mooted but a sin­gle car­riage­way road with a 50mph limit.

The sup­port is there, the funds are, ar­guably, avail­able. What is re­quired is lead­er­ship and for Maid­stone Bor­ough Coun­cil and Kent County Coun­cil to work to­gether to ei­ther de­liver a re­lief road or some other scheme to bring an end to Maid­stone’s traf­fic mis­ery, rather than use the is­sue as am­mu­ni­tion in their own, well pub­li­cised dis­agree­ment.

The prob­lem can­not and must not be swept un­der the car­pet once more.

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