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News By-pass routes for consultation

THERE are three options for a Leeds-Langley relief road under consideration,we have learnt. The Joint Transportation Board

(JTB), which is made up of repre- sentatives from county, borough and parish councils, is currently as- sessing a number of factors, includ- ing topography and economic viability. The options will go out to public consultation, but critics worry this may not happen for many months, allegedly to avoid the county coun- cil elections next May According to information seen by Downs Mail, all routes would start on or near the Penfold bridge after the main entrance to Leeds Castle, and proceed around the village. Option 1 (East): From Penfold Hill, the route would skirt along Burberry Lane and into woodland close to Langley and then on to or

Geing town

moving again Continued from page one The council identifies money from

new housing developments as one source of resources to implement the strategy, as well as various funding pots including New Homes Bonus and an £8.9million grant from the Local Enterprise Partnership. Cllr Burton added: “This docu-

ment is the context to say to devel- opers buildingnewhomes, these are the issues that this will create and you need to contribute money to re- solving those issues, and making people’s lives better.” Other key findings of the new In- tegrated Transport Strategy include increasing parking charges by 50 per cent in some of Maidstone's car parks by 2031. Councillor Burton said: “We can

use price to encourage longer stay- ers to use the less popular car parks, which are a couple of minutes'walk out of the town, leaving the central ones free for shoppers to spend a few pennies in the town. It’s about trying to shift demand and the strat- egy is about giving choice.” The Mall shopping centre bus sta-

tion in Maidstone is condemned as ”neither fit for purpose nor user- friendly”. The report says: “It is not well lit

or ventilated and is threatening in character, being essentially a tunnel under the Centre linking King Street andRomneyPlace.” The centre itself has had a £5million refurbishment. Maidstone’s key roads are at, or

near, capacity at peak times. Cllr Burton said a number of road junc- tion improvements would be made as part of the strategy, as and when proposed homes are developed. The public transport network is

poor, particularly for people in the south of the boroughwhofind it dif- ficult to access vital services.

4 Maidstone East October 2016

near to the FiveWents crossroads. Option 2 (West): From Penfold Hill, the route would veer right around Leeds, over Forge Lane and possibly on to Back Street, emerging at the junction at or close to Horseshoes Lane. Option 3 (East andwest): This route will form an ‘S’ shape, following the west route initially before emerging at the Langley end of Burberry Lane and picking up the end of the east route and emerging at or near the FiveWents crossroads. Most JTB members and their ad-

visers realise none of these options will be palatable to residents af- fected by them, but with volumes of traffic through Leeds andWillington Street on the rise – and set to rise fur- ther with new house building –

something will have to be done. Option 1 is the least likely to be adopted, as it will receive strong op- position from Leeds Castle whose parkland it could affect. It would also run close to Battel Hall, an his- toric building. The second option is likely to be cheaper than the third, although the third might be seen as a more prac- tical solution. One borough council source told Downs Mail: “There has to be some action soon.My guess is that they’ll try to sit on it until after the Kent County Council elections next May. “Perhaps they don’t realise that people are getting pretty angry about it.Youcan’t just keep building houses and hope the roads will cope because they can’t cope as it is.”

The issue of housebuilding on the

A274 Sutton Road and the knock-on effects for villages such as Otham, Langley, Leeds and Sutton Valence will figure heavily in the county council election campaign next year. Ukip is hoping to unseat Tory

Gary Cooke in the Maidstone south east division, despite the fact that Cllr Cooke -whosits on the JTB - has been campaigning on behalf of resi- dents for a relief road. Ukip spokesman Eddie Powell

said: “The JTB can propose what it likes, but it’s no use if there isn’t the money to pay for it. This issue has been around for 20 years and still nothing has happened. “I hope that they do it for the ben-

efit of the people who live in that area.”

Traffic chaos after bike crash

A MOTORCYCLIST suffered a broken leg after colliding with a car in Leeds. The biker – a woman on a

Yamaha – was treated for injuries by Secamb paramedics at the scene. But the accident happened at the

height of the rush hour and caused tailbacks to Langley in one direc- tion and to the A20 in the other. Leeds parish councillor Lesley Martin, who lives close to the scene near Burberry Lane, said: “It just goes to show that there is far too much traffic coming through this village, especially during the rush hour. “It just illustrates that a relief road is needed to take this traffic

somewhere else. This was the sec- ond accident in a week.” About a month before, teenager Felicity Poulter was hit by a van in Upper Street, Leeds, while a pet dog narrowly survived a collision. Other residents have reported

drivers not stopping after colli- sions, speeding and aggressive

conduct by drivers. Cllr Martinwas one of a number

of delegates who met recently with residents and Kent county Council officials to press for the need for a relief road. One villager caught up in the

chaos on September 14 said: “The place just ground to a standstill. Again.” A Kent Police spokesman said:

“Kent Police was called at 8.44am on September 14 following a colli- sion in Burberry Lane, Leeds, Maidstone. The incident involved a car and a Yamaha motorcycle. Of- ficers and Secamb attended the scene. The motorcyclistwas treated for injuries, which were not be- lieved to be serious.”

Wide load blocks village road

TRAFFIC was brought to a com- plete standstill in Leeds after amo- bile home was transported through the village. Cars going down the hill towards

the George pub were forced to mount the pavement as the trans- porter carrying the mobile building tried to negotiate the narrowest part of the village. Traffic backed up for at least a

mile in each direction. Onemotorist, who lives in the vil-

lage, said: "It was a ridiculous thing to even attempt. He was lucky there wasn't an illegal HGV coming in the opposite direction. “The situation in this village just gets worse and worse. The council

Other vehicles are forced up on to the pavement in Leeds

village as the mobile home makes its way slowly up the hill

has done nothing for decades ex- cept talk a good game." Eventually, the transporter was

forced to pull into a layby near the playing fields allowing the traffic to clear.

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