The Leaders of Kent County Council and Maidstone Borough Council met on Friday 27 April to discuss the proposed relief road to the South of Maidstone (the "Leeds Langley Relief Road") in a second meeting chaired by Maidstone MPs Helen Grant and Helen Whately.
This follows the well-attended public meeting organised by Cllr Gary Cooke on 2 November 2017, where the two MPs committed to bring the local authorities together to overcome historic differences over how to solve Maidstone's transport problems. The first meeting between the two councils, chaired by the two MPs, was held on 2 February 2018.
KCC is leading work, with the input of Maidstone Borough Council, on a feasibility study for the proposed Relief Road. The work will include a costs and benefits analysis which will assess potential reductions to journey times and accidents. Consultants have been commissioned to undertake extensive studies, and traffic and environmental surveys for a relief road are underway. The work will also evaluate schemes to enable greater use of public transport.
The feasibility study is due to finish in March 2019. When complete a public consultation will be held to share the findings.
A joint project group has been established, involving KCC and MBC officers meeting monthly, along with a Strategic Board chaired by Maidstone's two MPs bringing together the leaders of the two local authorities. The Strategic Board will meet again in July.
Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and The Weald said "Congestion continues to be one of the biggest concerns for my constituents which is unsurprising when considering the lengthy delays they experience on a daily basis. This is only going to become more severe once further housing is built and it is therefore crucial that the leaders of Maidstone are coming together on this issue. I am pleased with the progress being made through our meetings and will continue to give this matter the attention it deserves and requires."
Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport and Waste, Kent County Council said: "Our thanks to the two MPs for their help and support. We will move forward with the preliminaries as fast as possible, work on this has already begun."
Cllr Fran Wilson, Leader of Maidstone Borough Council said,"I am delighted that the investigative work on the Leeds/Langley Relief Road, which Maidstone Borough Council as the Planning Authority requested to be conducted, will now be progressed.
"I would like to publicly thank our two MPs for all their efforts in helping to resolve any differences so we can all move forward with this much needed work."
Helen Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid Kent said "It's good to have KCC and MBC coming together to tackle congestion in and around Maidstone. The traffic is already a nightmare - and with more housing coming, we need the infrastructure to go with it. Helen Grant and I will continue to push for progress, using regular meetings of the county and borough council to drive things forwards."
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