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Home   Sittingbourne   News   Article

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson angry over minister's Stockbury roundabout response

03 September 2014
by Andy Gray

In a missive to transport minister John Hayes, he called for signals to be put out of action for a three-week trial period.

The Stockbury roundabout

The Stockbury roundabout

Mr Henderson said the temporary move would “prove or disprove whether turning off the lights would be a workable interim solution until funding is available for a more permanent solution”.

After the MP’s initial inquiry, Mr Hayes said: “The current configuration of the roundabout means that it would not be possible to simply turn off the lights.

“This is because while turning off the signals would improve journey times for some travellers, it would impact adversely on the safety of others.”

He said any scheme to remove the signals and address the safety issues “would not be able to be designed, funded and implemented in the immediate future”.

Sheppey and Sittingbourne MP Gordon Henderson

Sheppey and Sittingbourne MP Gordon Henderson

He also pointed to Stockbury Roundabout being key to improving road links between Kent’s ports and the M25.

In his reply, Mr Henderson said he was “less than happy” with Mr Hayes’ response, which he claimed was a “regurgitation” of previous comments.

“In particular”, he said. “I simply do not accept that it is ‘not possible to simply turn off the lights because it would impact adversely on the safety of others’.

“Earlier this year the lights were turned off for a five-week period during which traffic flowed much more smoothly and there was not a single accident of which I’m aware.”

Transport minister John Hayes MP

Transport minister John Hayes MP

Mr Henderson also claimed it had not been explained why it wasn’t deemed necessary to install traffic lights “at the equally busy” M20/A249 roundabout.

“This is a very big issue in my constituency and the thousands of motorists who use the Stockbury Roundabout and witnessed the improvement when the lights were turned off earlier this year,” he said.

In suggesting a meeting between Mr Henderson and the Highways Agency, Mr Hayes said: “I believe this may be more productive than seeking to explain what are complex matters in a letter.”

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