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Improvements at Brenley Corner blackspot delayed for over five years

March 15, 2018 10:45 PM

Improvements to the dangerous Brenley Corner Roundabout* could be delayed for more than five years, despite the junction being among the worst accident blackspots in the UK.

Antony HookAt a county council meeting earlier today, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Economic Development, Antony Hook, asked Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport & Waste, when much-needed improvements to the roundabout were due to be made.

Cllr Whiting replied that work would not begin until at least 2021, but could be delayed as long as 2026.

A Highways England report, published in April last year, named Brenley Corner as one of the worst accident blackspots in the UK.

Traffic using the junction has increase by 43% in the last 15 years and it has seen a string of serious accidents, which often cause tailbacks stretching for miles down the M2.

Cllr Hook said: "We need action now, and this lengthy delay will just mean more accidents and more congestion over the coming years. Everyone says they support changes at Brenley Corner, but the Conservatives in power won't deliver anything until at least 2021, maybe not until 2026. This is totally unacceptable."

* Brenley Corner is a critical pinch-point at the intersection of the M2 with the A2 just east of Faversham.

Antony Hook's question to Mike Whiting:

"Will the Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport and Waste please give an update on matters connected with the heavily congested Canterbury Road/London Road/Ospringe Street (the A2) in Faversham, in particular:
a) When does the Council expect Highways England to make changes to the Brenley Corner junction and what will those changes be,
b) At the junction with Ashford Road (A251) will the Council be creating traffic lights or a roundabout and when will this happen,
c) Will the Council support the delivery of an Ospringe by-pass from the Western Link roundabout to the M2 or A251 that was approved in 1986 but still waited for?"

Mike Whiting's answer:

"I will take each of your questions in turn:

Part (a)
As you will know we are continually pressing for improvements to Brenley Corner. Most recently, as part of our response to the Department for Transport's (DfT) consultation document 'Shaping the Future of England's Strategic Roads' KCC made the case for the enhancements needed to the Strategic Road Network in Kent, including Brenley Corner (M2 Junction 7). KCC's response was endorsed at the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee on 31 January 2018.

The DfT is analysing all responses received and in May 2018 will publish a summary of the responses together with an indication on how they will take them into account in the development of Road Investment Strategy 2. This is a statutory process, involving the DfT, Highways England and the Office of Road and Rail (ORR). DfT intends to announce the result of this process in 2019, and it is at this point that we will know if is there is funding for improvements to Brenley Corner. If Brenley Corner is included in RIS2, Highways England will engage with interested parties, including KCC, on mobilisation and implementation, prior to the start of RIS2 on 1 April 2020. It is during this process that a scheme will be designed by Highways England, in consultation with KCC, and will then be taken through the public consultation and planning process. If a scheme is given the go-ahead, it would be delivered between 2020/21 and 2025/26.

Part (b)
We have been working with the Swale JTB on proposals for the A2/A251 junction. Kent County Council is pooling developer contributions from strategically allocated sites within Faversham to be used specifically for improvements to the A2/A251 junction. The receipt of those payments is directly linked to the occupations of those new homes to ensure that the delivery of a scheme is tied to the level of impacts made by the development. We are also exploring additional funding opportunities that would help deliver the scheme earlier.

We have previously undertaken initial traffic modelling and reported on potential schemes at the Swale JTB and members have debated the benefits, pitfalls and costs of both roundabouts and traffic signal solutions at this location. Before the item is reported again to the Swale JTB KCC has commissioned an update to the traffic modelling to further assist in determining the most appropriate scheme solution. This is especially important since additional development proposals have come forward since 2013 when the previously modelling was carried out.

We expect to report the scheme again to the JTB in July 2018.

Part (c)
Regarding an Ospringe by-pass there is currently no policy or funding available that would enable such a scheme to come forward. County officers are aware of representations made by the local community and are attempting to ensure that the current Perry Court development is designed in such a way that would not prejudice the future delivery of such a scheme. The viability of such a scheme would however be entirely reliant on further strategic housing allocations coming forward between Brogdale Road and the Western Link and we are currently unaware of any development interest in that area."