Published: 16:25, 12 September 2021
| Updated: 16:36, 12 September 2021
Construction work on a £30 million bypass hoped to solve congestion at one of Kent's worst bottlenecks is not due to begin for another two years.
Councillors gave the green light for the final piece of the jigsaw to construct the major link between the A28 Sturry Road and A291 in Canterbury.
The 0.9-mile bypass will stretch over the River Stour, and take drivers through a new housing estate which will be built in conjunction with the relief road.
KCC has now confirmed that work on the link road is scheduled to begin in autumn 2023 and end in the summer of 2025.
Traffic lights are also set to be installed at the existing junction by the level crossing, and the outbound bus stop at the foot of Sturry Hill will be moved to the other side.
Motorists will be able to choose between using the bypass or taking the traditional route over the level crossing.
In total, 1,086 homes will be built in Sturry and Broad Oak, along with the new road.
Sturry Parish Council chairman Ashley Bubb says the village is severely disappointed with the decision.
“It is ridiculous and one of the most stupid decisions in the past 25 years,” he said.
“Anyone in their right mind who knows the area will know that no matter what road layout is designed, it will never work with the train crossing being there.
“Sturry is in for hellish time. We are a compacted village and cannot take more over development. The solution would be to downsize or get rid of the big housing development, but that is set in stone.
“I’ve not come across one person in the area who thinks it is going to have any benefits. It just going to make things horrendous.
'We are a compacted village and cannot take more over development...'
“The bypass won’t stop the trains from coming, so the barriers are still going to be down for 20 minutes every hour.”
In contrast to Sturry villagers, city council leader Ben Fitter-Harding is pleased the county authority has approved the scheme.
KCC previously rejected the project in March this year in a shock decision, but following tweaks to the proposal, councillors have now rubber-stamped the plans.
“We’ve waited so long for this,” Cllr Fitter-Harding said.
“There are some residents who would rather it not go ahead. I do feel for them but, for the district, this will be hugely beneficial. I’ve been a councillor for about 10 years, and the bypass has been discussed throughout that time. I’m at least the fourth leader to have presided over it, and only now has it scraped over the finishing line.
“It’s really encouraging to see it get past the post. It will help address the Sturry bottleneck, and the existing infrastructure and residents will benefit.
“We just hope that it can now be delivered. I don’t believe there is any reason why that now cannot happen as this was the final hurdle.”