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Traffic blackspots to be eased in Maidstone, Canterbury and Thanet in £442m injection from South East Local Enterprise Partnership

By Paul Francis

Millions of pounds is set to be invested in key transport schemes in Kent and Medway - boosting jobs and growth and easing congestion in well-known traffic blackspots.

The government has announced that the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP) has secured£442.2 million to boost economic growth across Kent, Medway, East Sussex and Essex.

The schemes to be funded in Kent include:

  • An integrated transport package for Maidstone (£8.9m)
  • A new link road in Canterbury (Sturry Road) (£5.9m)
  • Anew parkway station in Thanet (£10m)
There are long delays
There are long delays

The County town of Maidstone will see a scheme to ease congestion around the gyratory system, a long-standing traffic blackspot.

It will involve building two additional northbound lanes, enabling northbound traffic on the A229 to bypass the existing gyratory system, reducing journey distances, travel time and congestion and enabling the regeneration of the western riverside.

In addition, the government says it will fund the planned new junction 10A on the M20 at Ashford, which has been in the pipeline for several years and is considered vital to ease traffic congestion around new housing developments.

And plans for a new parkway station at Thanet are to go ahead despite the closure of Manston Airport.

Business leadersand council chiefs say it remains an important part of helping boost investment and jobs in the wider east Kent region.

But much of the money will not be available until 2016-17 at the earliest and the total sum covers a six-year period and spending will be phased.

Traffic jams are set to worsen in Canterbury city centre
Traffic jams are set to worsen in Canterbury city centre

Despite this, the package has been welcomed by business leaders.

Geoff Miles, Kent vice chairman of SE LEP and chairman of the Kent & Medway Economic Partnership, said: “Today’s funding announcement heralds intensive investment in transport improvements for the south east – and a powerful new working relationship with the Government.

"This is only the beginning of our ambitions: through SE LEP and the Kent & Medway Economic Partnership we have bold further plans for economic growth in Kent & Medway and will be seeking further funding to make them a reality.”

The Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Growth Deals are a crucial part of our long-term plan to secure Britain’s future. For too long our economy has been too London-focused and too centralised. Growth Deals will help change all that.

"They are about firing up our great towns and cities, boosting local economies and driving growth across the country."

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