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Swale council offers to part-fund a roundabout for the Lower Road / Barton Hill Road junction on Sheppey

Plans to replace a busy set of traffic lights with a roundabout have been given a boost after Swale council pledged to partly fund the scheme.

Signals at the junction of Barton Hill Drive and Lower Road, Minster, have been blamed for regular tailbacks going back to the A249 at peak times.

Council leader Cllr Andrew Bowles (Con) recently wrote to Cllr David Brazier, KCC cabinet member for environment and transport, about the matter.

He asked whether a “significant” yet undisclosed contribution from Swale towards the project would increase the likelihood of it being funded.

Traffic lights at the Lower Road/Barton Hill Drive junction in Sheppey.
Traffic lights at the Lower Road/Barton Hill Drive junction in Sheppey.

He did so with the agreement of the rest of the cabinet and the officer in charge of finances and copied in county council leader, Cllr Paul Carter (Con).

Cllr Bowles, who wouldn’t comment on how much the borough was prepared to contribute, has since spoken to Cllr Brazier and the lead officer for Swale at Kent Highways.

They said the offer will make a “substantive” difference to the scheme’s chances.

A report submitted to Swale Joint Transportation Board last month put the estimated cost of a full-sized roundabout at £200,000, without taking into account the cost of buying extra land from a third party.

No money has been set aside for the construction, although Kent Highways has submitted an application to the Local Transport Package (LTP) Fund, which is part of a larger bid to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

Swale council leader Cllr Andrew Bowles.
Swale council leader Cllr Andrew Bowles.

The outcome of the bid is expected to be announced soon.

Conservative candidate at the upcoming Sheppey Central by-election, Tina Booth, asked whether Swale would consider paying towards the roundabout at a full council meeting last Wednesday.

She said: “The appalling traffic situation that exists at the junction of A2500 (Lower Road) and Barton Hill Drive is well known to all road users in the area.

“There have been several recent studies of this junction and a number of observations that could go some way to alleviating the daily congestion suffered particularly during the morning and evening high traffic flow periods.”

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