Published: 07:00, 13 June 2014
| Updated: 08:25, 13 June 2014
It has been talked about for years, but a new junction off the M2 between Sittingbourne and Faversham could finally be on its way.
The government is due to announce next month whether an application for £12 million from the Single Local Growth Fund towards the scheme has been successful.
If approved, it is expected that work would start in 2017/18.
The draft plan shows it would be built between Ruins Barn Road, Tunstall, and Broadoak Farm and would lead down to Kent Science Park (KSP).
More detailed work about the exact location will only be carried out if the project is supported.
It is expected to cost £20million in total with the rest coming from KCC, Swale council and the pension fund client of LaSalle Investment Management, which owns the former Shell Research site in Broadoak Road. No housing is proposed to cover its costs.
However, the Five Parishes Opposition Group says it is "outraged" the government would even consider funding the route, which it believes would solely serve KSP.
West Downs councillor Monique Bonney, who is part of the group, said: "Clearly the need for a motorway junction demonstrates the proposed new jobs at KSP are not for Swale residents.
"We are horrified vast sums of taxpayers' money would be used to fund a single private enterprise.
"We believe sorting out Junction 5 [Stockbury roundabout] is critical and has more benefit for Swale residents and businesses.
"The proposed junction 5a scheme does not deliver any wider benefit to Swale and has not had any public consultation.
"We are aghast that the Conservatives in Swale and KCC have continued to push this scheme together with the landowners with no public involvement and no proper traffic modelling.
"We believe the proposed junction 5a will have detrimental consequences on the local rural road network and the environment."
The proposal is one of 50 submitted by Kent County Council as part of the South East Local.
Enterprise Partnership strategic economic plan to boost growth in Kent. Of those, another three are for the Swale area.
They include £2.5 million to help with the estimated £4.5 million bill for transport changes as part of Sittingbourne town centre’s regeneration.
And £1 million is needed to pay for improvements to increase the capacity of the A249 Grovehurst Road junction – the total of which is £2 million.
Finally, £23.1 million would go towards the total £28.6 million cost of finishing the Northern Relief Road and linking it with the A2 in Bapchild.
It is understood the Highways Agency has also applied for a grant to improve Junction 5 of the M2.
The government has set aside £2 billion to fund schemes across the country.
A KCC spokesman said: “KCC is supportive of this scheme as it will facilitate the expansion of the science park and help to deliver up to 1,800 jobs.”
MP Gordon Henderson said: “I very much hope the bid will be accepted. I see it as the first stage of the A2/M2 link that has been on the council’s agenda for as long as I’ve been involved with Swale council, going back over 30 years.”
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