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Sheppey transport expert Peter MacDonald creates new Stockbury roundabout plan

By John Nurden

Transport expert Peter MacDonald, 76, from Minster, has sent his designs to MP Gordon Henderson and plans to deliver them in person to the Department for Transport’s headquarters in London today (Friday).

He said: “I don’t think Highways England planners understand the first thing about traffic flow. Their scheme will do nothing to alleviate the congestion on that road, and it is certainly not the most economic way of doing it.”

Transport expert Peter MacDonald, 76, from Minster has come up with his own plans for the £100 million revamp of Stockbury roundabout on the A249

Transport expert Peter MacDonald, 76, from Minster has come up with his own plans for the £100 million revamp of Stockbury roundabout on the A249

He came up with his design after Swale councillors took the unusual step of rubbishing Highways England’s preferred option 12A, which retains traffic lights at the notorious Junction 5 of the M2 for Maidstone, Sittingbourne and Sheppey.

Most commentators, including Mr Henderson, have called for a flyover across the existing roundabout for motorists driving between Maidstone and Sittingbourne.

But Mr MacDonald, who chairs the transport committee of Minster Parish Council and is a chartered member of the Institute of Logistics and Transport, believes the best answer is an underpass.

Leader of Swale council Cllr Andrew Bowles, Kent County Council cabinet member for transport Cllr David Brazier, and MP Gordon Henderson discuss plans for Stockbury roundabout

Leader of Swale council Cllr Andrew Bowles, Kent County Council cabinet member for transport Cllr David Brazier, and MP Gordon Henderson discuss plans for Stockbury roundabout

He said: “It makes much more sense and would work out cheaper.

“Having attended an exhibition at The Forum in Sittingbourne and having talked to the consultants, it seems the Highways England proposals are going to be an expensive dog’s dinner.

“They will fail the project’s stated objectives and create more pollution and delays while failing to get rid of the traffic lights.”

Mr MacDonald is a former long-distance lorry driver and a member of the Swale and Kent Joint Transportation Group.

Vicky Ye, Highways England's project manager, with Neil Andrew, senior project manager unveil their £100 million plan

Vicky Ye, Highways England's project manager, with Neil Andrew, senior project manager unveil their £100 million plan

Highways England admits it has thrown out other more efficient schemes because they cost too much.

A six-week public consultation opened last month and closes on Tuesday, October 17.

The new scheme must cater for vehicles from 14,124 new homes and 130,000 square metres of factories and offices planned for the area over the next 14 years.

An announcement on the route is expected early next year followed by a formal consultation. A new junction could be ready for 2022.

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Traffic jams are usual on the A249 approaching the Stockbury roundabout

Traffic jams are usual on the A249 approaching the Stockbury roundabout

The Scheme

Mr MacDonald says his nine-point plan won’t need any traffic lights. He claims it will increase the junction’s capacity so it will cope with more predicted traffic and insists it will improve air quality because there will be less stopping and starting.

He says it could be built within the government’s £100 million budget.

This is transport expert Peter MacDonald's own plans for the £100 million revamp of Stockbury roundabout on the A249. They include an underpass.

This is transport expert Peter MacDonald's own plans for the £100 million revamp of Stockbury roundabout on the A249. They include an underpass.

This is what he would do:

  1. Agrees the Highways England plan for a slip road off the coast-bound M2 towards Sheppey is “excellent” but says he suggested this before and it was turned down.
  2. Agrees a dedicated left-turn lane from the A249 onto the London-bound M2 as suggested by Highways England would improve traffic flow and eliminate the need for traffic lights.
  3. Agrees joining the old A249 Maidstone Road to Oad Street will eliminate a “rat run” as suggested by Highways England.
  4. But insists re-routing Oad Street is a waste of money and suggests moving its junction with the A249 nearer to Maidstone.
  5. The above would allow a dedicated free-flowing slip road from the London-bound M2 onto the Maidstone-bound A249 without the need for traffic lights.
  6. Highways England's Sheppey to Maidstone route across the roundabout is good but Mr MacDonald says it does not need traffic lights. It should be an underpass like the one at Key Street.
  7. A new slip road from the Maidstone-bound A249 to the coast-bound M2 would reduce delays and improve air quality.
  8. A new slip road from Sheppey-bound A249 to London-bound M2 carriageway would improve traffic flow. A small loss of woodland could be mitigated by tree planting elsewhere.
  9. Mr MacDonald agrees the junction at Honeycrock Hill should be closed along with crossing points on the A249’s central reservation to prevent accidents.

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