Swale Borough Council are due to release a Swale Transport Strategy document for public consultation in the next few days. It would appear that this runs in parallel to the current Local Plan Inquiry and the two are considered independently of one another.
Of particular interest is the inclusion of the A2/M2 link road, which is not even in the current draft of the Local Plan, so we are unable to make representations on this at the forthcoming inquiry.
I have a copy of the Agenda of the Swale Joint Transportation Board meeting held on the 19th December which says
“The current anticipated route will continue southwards from the A2/NRR interchange near Bapchild and connect with the M2 approximately 2 miles east of junction 5.”
Swale Borough Council have therefore confirmed that the road will commence in Bapchild where the Northern Relief Road joins the A2. This is anticipated to be in the area of Bapchild Cricket pitch although Swale Borough Council have not at this point ruled out the other options.
Since the Kent Science Park made their proposals available, Swale Borough Council have made great strides to divorce this new A2/M2 link road with the Kent Science Park development, especially the housing element required to fund it. So I was a little surprised to read this
“The road would provide opportunities identified within the Borough Council Draft Economic Development Strategy by facilitating development around the Kent Science Park.”
Then later in the document, where it discusses the next steps it says
“Further feasibility and development scenarios need to be developed”
And how “Work being undertaken by the Kent Science Park”
Now I would be the first to agree this could mean many things, but there is absolutely no doubt that this road is being floated purely on the grounds of enabling further expansion of the Kent Science Park and not because of any strategic importance in terms of transport infrastructure.
It is conspicuous by its absence from the Local Plan and surely if this road is of any strategic importance there would have been more than a passing comment in the Local Plan.
It also begs the question of funding, given that Swale Borough Council could not fund this road without resorting to the housing element they try so hard to distance themselves from. Could the recent announcement of an extra 1,200 houses for Swale be the perfect excuse for going back on their word.