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Public inquiry into plans for a revamped Stockbury roundabout postponed

A public inquiry into plans for an upgrade to Stockbury roundabout has been postponed.

Highways England is planning to build a flyover at the A249's junction with the M2 at Junction 5 for Sittingbourne, Sheppey and Maidstone.

How the new Stockbury roundabout could look from Oad Street
How the new Stockbury roundabout could look from Oad Street

Following a consultation for interested parties last year, the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed there would be an inquiry to decide on the plans for the revamp.

It was scheduled to begin on Tuesday, March 10 at Hempstead House in Bapchild and was due to last about two weeks.

A pre-inquiry meeting was then held at Hempstead House last month to set a timetable.

But, today, the DfT said it had been delayed.

A spokesman said: "The Secretary of State has postponed the public inquiry into the Stockbury roundabout improvements, as additional information from Highways England needs to be considered. We are working with Highways England to agree an alternative date as soon as possible."

Highways England's plan for the Stockbury roundabout from Church Lane, Stockbury
Highways England's plan for the Stockbury roundabout from Church Lane, Stockbury

Highways England said it was in constant touch with the DfT and the Planning Inspectorate and was keen for the inquiry to go ahead "at the earliest opportunity".

A spokesman added: "We are confident in our proposals for improving the Stockbury interchange, which will bring real benefits to drivers and local people, and we are looking forward to presenting our plans for independent scrutiny at public inquiry."

Calling a public inquiry is a function for the Secretary of State.

A new date has not yet been set, but is expected to be announced within the next few days.

The first scheme put forward for the improvements was thrown out, but the flyover plan won the backing of Swale council and Minster Parish Council, which said it “totally supports” the project.

There have, however, been objections from Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is concerned about the environmental impact, and Stockbury Parish Council which, although is not opposed to the flyover, wants some form of traffic control added at the Church Hill turn-off.

It warns the village would be cut off under the plans, which would remove access via Honeycrock Hill, and make the Church Hill junction “more dangerous”.

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