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Sittingbourne relief road 'threatened' by new homes plan


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Plans to build another 330 homes could scupper Sittingbourne's northern relief road, it's claimed.

Developer Trenport wants to build the houses west of Church Road, Tonge, near Sittingbourne to complete the Great Easthall estate.

Aerial shot of land west of Church Road, Sittingbourne, with the proposed site marked by a red line. The railway line runs along the bottom and the A2, not shown, is below that. The Swale Way roundabout is to the left of the photo above the Great Easthall estate. Picture: Trenport
Aerial shot of land west of Church Road, Sittingbourne, with the proposed site marked by a red line. The railway line runs along the bottom and the A2, not shown, is below that. The Swale Way roundabout is to the left of the photo above the Great Easthall estate. Picture: Trenport

But some of the land has been reserved for the vital and long-awaited connection which would go through the Eurolink trading estate and connect the Swale Way with the A2 at Bapchild.

Staff from Trenport East Hall Park unveiled their plans at a presentation in Lakeview community centre recently and showed houses where the link road should be.

Diagrams did, however, include notes to say the positions of houses might have to change.

Maurice Dunk, chairman of Sittingbourne Football Club, said: "I grew up here and my father, who is 95, still lives in Easthall Close. We always understood there would likely be another 90 or 100 houses and thought they would just fit in.

"But 300 is crazy. There is no room for the relief road. It is supposed to go over the railway line and link Swale Way with the A2 at Bapchild so traffic doesn't have to go through Sittingbourne town centre which is already chock-a-block.

Maurice Dunk
Maurice Dunk

"I know we have to have homes but it has to be done properly. We must finish the relief road first. Tonge Road is too narrow."

He also warned that the new houses could leave Oak Road like a giant cul-de-sac. "It will become like the Road To Nowhere," he said.

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: "As far as I can see, there has been no allowance made for the northern relief road. I fear this could be going back on a long-time promise.

"The land needs to be safeguarded for the benefit of residents. There could be a huge backlash to this.

The northern relief road was first mooted in 1975.

Master plan showing how development could look on land west of Church Road. Picture: Trenport
Master plan showing how development could look on land west of Church Road. Picture: Trenport
Artist's impression of how the homes could look on land west of Church Road. Picture: Trenport
Artist's impression of how the homes could look on land west of Church Road. Picture: Trenport

Trenport says its proposals will create a "high-quality and sustainable housing development" of one- to four-bedrooms homes and apartments within an "attractive landscape setting".

A spokeswoman for Swale council said: “The land west of Church Road in Tonge is allocated as part of the current local plan (Bearing Fruits) for 106 dwellings, open space and employment, with the employment element already permitted.

"We are currently discussing two options with Trenport, one with the connection for the Northern relief road, and one without, with the land being safeguarded.

"We are in pre-application discussions with Trenport to expand the number of dwellings to 330 and there has already been public exhibition."

She added: “One of the key issues for this site is the number of nearby listed buildings including the Grade I listed Tonge Parish church.”

St Gile' church at Tonge. Picture: Andy Payton
St Gile' church at Tonge. Picture: Andy Payton

Swale council's Local Plan states: "The final section of the Sittingbourne Northern Relief Road to the A2 is needed to improve traffic and air-quality conditions in central and eastern areas of the town.

"It will also enable the full benefits of changes in traffic management in the town centre to be realised. The proposals are identified as a safeguarded Area of Search, the alignment for this road being progressed as part of a future Local Plan review."

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