Maidstone’s road network is unique. It is where four of Kent’s arterial routes meet and it encompasses four junctions of the M20.
The volume of traffic this creates means there is little or no resilience in the network. A broken-down car on the Tonbridge Road can therefore lead to gridlock on the A249; or disruption on the M20 can mean hours of delays in the south of the town. All too often making us late for work, school or other commitments.
Furthermore, the pollution created by chronic congestion is a real problem. Upper Stone Street generates the fifth highest level of pollution in the UK outside of London and air pollution levels across Maidstone continue to exceed World Health Organisation Guidelines.
The status quo has gone on for far too long and clearly, something needs to change. I am in full agreement with Michael Payne, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways, when he says that to do nothing to combat Maidstone’s congestion is ‘realistically not an option.’
I am therefore delighted that KCC are consulting on plans for a series of highways improvements across our town which aim to provide the necessary capacity to keep Maidstone moving. The schemes include plans to: widen the road at the Coldharbour roundabout, change how the Loose Road meets the one-way system and radically improve the Wheatsheaf junction. They are due to be funded by a combination of Government money and contributions from local housing developers.
Of course, we must continue to push for the other strategic improvements required to ensure a sustainable solution to our congestion woes; including making the case for a Southern Relief Road. But, in the meantime, these schemes have my fullest support as they have the potential to tangibly improve the lives of residents and support growth of businesses across our town.
Please do visit https://bit.ly/38cy2ZW to respond to the consultation and ensure your views are heard.