Published: 12:26, 24 October 2019
| Updated: 12:56, 24 October 2019
A public inquiry is due to be held to decide on the plans for an upgrade to Stockbury Roundabout – unless Highways England irons out its differences with objectors before then.
But following a consultation for interested parties in June, it looks as though a decision on the scheme will go down to the wire, at a public inquiry to be held a month before works were due to start.
At Maidstone council’s Joint Transportation Board meeting last week, Andrew Salmon, programme leader at HE, said: “The Department for Transport confirmed to us that unless all the statutory objections are withdrawn, the scheme will have to proceed to a public inquiry on February 11, 2020.
“In the meantime the project team are working with the objectors to address their concerns with the aim of trying to remove objections and not go to a public inquiry.”
As well as a number of landowners, the groups HE will need to win over are the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is concerned about the environmental impact, and Stockbury Parish Council. Members are demanding a bridge to be built, saying the village would be cut off under the plans, which would remove access via Honeycrock Hill and make the Church Hill junction “more dangerous”.
HE responded to say Kent County Council was looking to secure funding for one as part of a separate scheme.
The authority also said all objectors were issued with a notice informing them about the intention to hold a public inquiry by the Department for Transport in August.
As part of the process, HE has written a Statement of Case, which summarises the scheme, objections, representations and HE responses.
The inquiry is expected to last around two weeks. If the plans are approved, it is hoped works would start in March 2020 and the road would then reopen in late autumn or early winter the following year.
To view the proposal, click here.
More by this authorChloe Holmwood