'No more relief roads for another 20 years'
THERE will be no major congestion-busting additions to Sittingbourne's road network over the next 10 years, it has been suggested.
The eagerly-awaited Northern Relief Road is due to open in part next month but the wait for any more routes after that could be a long one.
That was the message for members of the A2 Action Group - representatives from parishes between Bapchild and Faversham - who met senior Kent and Swale councillors on Friday
Eventually, the Northern Relief road is planned to link the A249 and the A2, with a route around Bapchild.
But the hot topic at the meeting was a Southern Relief Road to link the A2 with the M2 south of Sittingbourne. Opponents suggest the need for that connection has yet to be proved, but Swale Council is set to include it in its Core Strategy, which will set out a planning blueprint until 2031.
However, with its cost likely to be upwards of £100 million, it is not on the immediate horizon.
Neither are improvements to alleviate the queues at junction 5 of the M2 at Stockbury roundabout, which has also been ruled out due to cost.
Action group secretary Andy Hudson said: "At this time they are entirely unaffordable. It would appear that in terms of Kent transport schemes, Swale does not have a big enough problem. We are not on the
Northern Relief Road. I oppose any suggestion that the NRR is completed until action is taken to mitigate its affect on the A2. The only way you do that is with an A2/M2 link.
Mr Hudson disputed that, saying: "The traffic study has proved that it will not take traffic away from the A2. There's a perception it must work. The trouble is, the traffic model says no."
Meanwhile, Mr Henderson stressed that the funding for such a road should come from KCC and the Government, rather than developer contributions.
"I am not likely to see it in my lifetime," he warned.
"Major road projects take 15 to 20 years to come into effect and you have to get the principle in place first."