07 JUN 2018

Tonbridge Road Sink Hole

Kent Messenger Column – 07-06-18

The scale of the damage caused to the A26 in Maidstone by last week's road collapse is deeply concerning.

The greatest impact has been upon nearby residents, with some having to evacuate their homes. Maidstone Borough Council have provided temporary accommodation and I hope that these people will be able to return to their homes in the not too distant future.

I am also acutely aware of the delays to journeys caused by the closure of this arterial route into our County Town. I am reassured that Kent County Council have done their very best to mitigate delays by adjusting traffic-light sequences, clearly marking diversion routes and liaising with the bus companies to ensure that people can get to school on time. I will, of course, continue to monitor the impact closely and will be meeting with Cllr Mike Whiting, KCC Cabinet Member for Transport, at the end of this week to pass on your experiences and to discuss KCC's ongoing responses.

This is the third incident of serious subsidence to occur in this area of Maidstone in recent weeks. I am urgently seeking more detailed information about the underlying geological issues, plus the effect of recent heavy rainfall and indeed the possible effects of ruptured subterranean water and drainage systems in each case.

KCC and South East Water must quickly put aside any dispute over the reasons and ensuing financial responsibilities to ensure the repair work required can begin immediately. The priority here must be to gain safe rectification of our roads and allow the people of Maidstone to resume their normal business as fast as possible, using whatever temporary funding that may be available.

To that end, in a Parliamentary debate on pot holes and road maintenance on Tuesday, I spoke on the importance of putting people and safety above stakeholder disputes and I will keep up the pressure to get the damage fixed as soon as possible.

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