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Action group's bid to re-route bypass

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CAMPAIGNERS against a proposed bypass being built through the west of Leeds, near Maidstone, have formed an action group ahead of a vote on the route of the road.

The residents, who mainly live on the west side of Leeds, have sent out a letter to every villager on the electoral roll urging them not to support the Kent County Council-favoured route of the bypass.

Instead the are backing a route on the east of the village, through land owned by Leeds Castle and English Heritage and have sent out ballot papers.

Parish councillor Lizzy Hughes, whose husband David is a member of the action group, said: "It has always been assumed that Leeds Castle would have the final say on the east route, that it would just say no. But no-one has ever really tried to persuade them."

The referendum will give villagers a choice between the west route, which runs through part of the village, or a route to the east of the village which would go through Leeds Castle's grounds. Villagers will also be able to choose to not have a bypass at all if they feel that neither the east or west routes are suitable.

Kent County Council has been doing background work towards the west route for five years and would be unwilling to drop the plans, according to council leader Cllr Sandy Bruce-Lockhart (Con). He stressed: "As councillor for the area, if the village votes for the east route then I shall fight for it - although the opinion of Langley also has to be taken into account."

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