My neighbouring colleague Helen Whately and I held a public meeting early last year at the Maidstone Studios to facilitate an open discussion about the Maidstone Local Plan.
The widely held view was that the borough was planning to build too many houses and this would wreak havoc on the already strained transport system and worsening air quality. Last week Helen and I found ourselves on the panel of another public meeting about the legendary Leeds-Langley relief road, cited as a possible source of congestion alleviation to the south of Maidstone.
With representatives from Kent County Council (KCC) and Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) also on the panel, sitting before an audience of around 350 people, the meeting was impassioned. The scheme is controversial, being just one of a range of options, and one that doesn’t suit everyone. Another problem is lack of money for such projects, although if an agreed scheme were to be identified, I would not shy away from seeking the funds from central government.
While considerable work on the various route options has already been carried out, the next steps include traffic surveys and scheme-specific traffic modelling to allow the experts to arrive at a consensus. There needs to be a good working relationship between