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Angry villagers plan to take action over traffic

VILLAGERS fed up waiting for a relief road have said they are ready to “get militant” if the authorities drag their feet over traffic issues. Residents in Leeds are planning

to stage marches and other disrup- tive, but legal, actions to highlight the problems huge volumes of ve- hicle movements have on everyday life.

Borough councillor Gill Fort (pic- tured) says she had heard of plans by resi- dents to “start making a lot of noise” as they no longer feel they are being heard by those in power.

Apart from the daily traffic, vil-

lagers are growing increasingly fed up withHGVs flouting a lorry ban, speeding, reckless driving, hit-and- run prangs and aggressive conduct by some drivers. She said: “There is growing

anger among people here and they are threatening to get militant. One chap I knowwants to get a car and park it in the road, legally, but which will slow the traffic down. “I cannot and will not condone anything illegal, but I can under- stand why he thinks that way.”

for by-pass THERE are currently three routes on the table for a relief road from Langley to the A20 junction.

HGVs have caused frustrations for villagers living in Leeds

Conservative Cllr Fort lives in

the heart of the village and says she understands villagers’ frustrations. She added: “Another villager I know reckons he can get two trac- tors to drive in opposite directions, very slowly, through the village at rush hour. I will support and help organise a march or a series of demonstrations to highlight what is going on here.”

The Joint Transportation Board

(JTB) – made up of county, bor- ough and parish council represen- tatives – is mulling over three options for a Leeds-Langley relief road. These may eventually be put out to public consultation, but crit- ics accuse the JTB of stalling until after the county council elections next May. Upper Street resident Robert Jackson (38), said: “All we get is prevarication because there’s an election coming up. But there is definitely a mood of frustration and anger among local people. “There’s just a lot of talk and no action. Sometimes you have to make people sit up and take no- tice.”

Ukip borough councillor Eddie

Powell added: “I’m 100% behind the villagers on this one – they’ve had enough. Even if the JTB could come up with a plan, how will it be paid for? “In the great scheme of things, a Leeds-Langley relief road is hardly high up on the government’s agenda, is it? This has been talked about for 20 years and yet nothing has been done.”

Roads and housing | News Drivers ‘rude

and too fast’ THE head governor of Leeds and Broomfield Primary School says traffic outside its gates has be- come “a huge issue” and is one she is concerned about. For years, vehicles and their

drivers have ignored the 20mph speed restriction, sped up to avoid being stopped by the cross- ing patrol or hurled abuse at the lollipop person. Governors’ chairman Val

Puncher said: “It’s a huge issue and of great concern. People go too fast or they get angry when they get stopped.” In a recent newsletter to par-

ents, head of school Julie Well- man reported “inappropriate language and unwelcome com- ments” directed at crossing pa- trolmanWayne English.

Local planwait

LEEDS’ county councillor Gary Cooke, who sits on the Joint Transportation Board, wrote in the latest parish magazine: “At the last JTB, a resolution was made about working with the borough council to promote the relief road.However, we need to wait until we have gone through the ‘examination in public’ for the Local Plan where we will pro- mote the idea.”

Three options ‘Let’s get on with relief road’ 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 wood- land close to Langley and then on to or near the FiveWents cross- roads. 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, fol- lowing thewest route initially before emerging at the Langley end of Burberry Lane and pick- ing up the end of the east route and emerging at or near the Five Wents crossroads.

A LEEDS-Langley relief road op- tion should be chosen sooner rather than later and “get on with it”, according to the borough coun- cil’s transport chief. Cllr David Burton, the lead on

road and planning matters, is con- fident the estimated £30-50m cost of a by-pass can be met through developer contributions, contrac- tual obligations and central fund- ing pots. There are currently three options

on the table for a south east Maid- stone relief road and currently being discussed by the authorities which make up the Joint Trans- portation Board (JTB). All would start in or around the

Penfold bridge near the entrance to Leeds Castle and variously emerge near or on the A274 at Langley or FiveWents. In a frank interview with Downs

Mail, Cllr Burton said: “My fixed view is to pick one of them and get on with it.” He acknowledged that with a house-building programme of 18,000 new houses by 2031, a route to take traffic out of Willington

Cllr David Barton

Street, parts of Shepway, Otham and Leeds is the “most logical piece of infrastructure”. The system across “will just

about cope” until there is a hiccup, he said. Cllr Burton said: “Having a by-

pass through the south east puts some resilience into the network.

“I do believe it will happen. For

the first time, we have the county council, the highways authority and the planning authority all talk- ing about the same thing posi- tively. “I think we are in a much better position to see the delivery sooner rather than later.” To pay for the relief road, devel-

opers must make a “substantial” contribution towards the infra- structure as well as government money and other “pockets” of cash, said Cllr Burton. He added: “It is a big challenge

but I believe it is achievable. When we talk about a relief road, it is ex- actly that. “For instance, the new gyratory system delivers 20% capacity to get vehicles through the town but the demands continue to grow. There are other smaller piecemeal im- provements, too. “If you have the new relief road

from the south to the motorway, the effects would be felt as far away as Yalding. All these ingredi- ents working together will get the best outcome for Maidstone.”

Maidstone December 2016 37

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