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Changes to Maidstone's gyratory system should keep cyclists in mind too, committee recommends

By Angela Cole

Cyclists could be propelled to the front of the queue under proposals being considered by council bosses in Maidstone.

They plan to lobby for a cycle lane to be included in moves to reshape the town’s gyratory system.

The major upgrade, which has been made possible with a £15.4m grant, aims to ease congestion by creating two additional northbound lanes along the A229, allowing traffic heading towards Chatham to bypass the existing system.

Members of the council’s planning, transportation and development overview and scrutiny committee have put forward additional recommendations for the project, which include provisions for cyclists to be included.

Cyclists James Gower who started a petition and Tim Goodman from Evans Cycles

The move comes after a petition was launched by Bridge Residents Society against a decision to remove the cycle lane at St Peter’s Bridge as part of the redevelopment of the Powerhub.

One of the recommendations is for the council’s draft cycle strategy to be updated and for the Maidstone Cycling Forum, which folded in 2011, to be reactivated, as well as an officer in the planning department to take responsibility for cycling.

They were issued after councillors carried out a review of transport in Maidstone, including looking at alternatives to cars.

Cllr Stephen Paine with a civil enforcement officer out on cycle patrol

Cllr Stephen Paine (Con) put forward the suggestion that cyclists should be added into plans for the gyratory system.

He said: “It shouldn’t be expensive to do these improvements at this stage of the design process, but they’ll make a huge difference to cyclists heading in and out of town from West Maidstone using the A20 and A26.

“I hope the committee takes these ideas on board and helps them see the light of day by making appropriate recommendations.

“I’m really pleased this important topic is being considered, especially at this opportune time when money is available to make a real difference across the borough – but only if we seize the chance now.”

Committee chairman Val Springett and her deputy Clive English have backed the recommendations, which will now go before the full committee.

If approved, they would be sent to Maidstone’s cabinet member for planning and transport Cllr David Burton (Con) for consideration.

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