A251 Ashford Road and A2 Canterbury Road, Faversham - Junction Improvements Scheme
The Senior Programme Manager introduced the report which summarised the actions and results of a consultation carried out between August and September 2020 and outlined the proposed highway junction improvements on the A251 Ashford Road and the A2 Canterbury Road, Faversham.
He explained that the adopted Swale Local Plan included significant development in Faversham, much of which had already commenced. Funding from the developments, through Section 106 Agreements, would go towards mitigating the developments’ impact on the A2/A251 junction. Highways England had also required that improvements were made to the current junction due to concerns on the safe operation of junction 6 of the M2. The proposed scheme reduced queuing on the A251 and reduced any backing-up of traffic which would prevent traffic from exiting the high speed M20. He said it was imperative to deliver the scheme as early as possible in terms of the safety and operation of these junctions.
The Senior Programme Manager drew attention to the Consultation Report; Annex 1, Consultation Report summary; Annex 2, List of Consultation responses and Annex 3, Proposed design to be progressed to construction. He said the aim of the scheme was to control traffic to allow the A251 to operate safely and to provide a safe crossing of both roads for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. The Senior Programme Manager explained that on the revised design, following the consultation, there were crossings on all approaches. A shared footway/cycleway was also being incorporated from the A251and Abbey School entrance, and a footway from the A251 heading east along the A2 was also included. He said there was insufficient land on the A251 and A2 for a cycle lane and it was not possible to link-up with The Mall because of the distance between the junctions. Traffic would also be controlled at this point on the A2 by traffic lights and yellow box section. He said the scheme was a medium-term solution. The Senior Programme Manager outlined the different phases, as set-out on page 96 of the report pack. The A251 needed to be closed for 11 weeks whilst the work was being carried out. Temporary two-way lights would be installed and there would also be diversions, followed by three-way lights which would mimic the end scenario. He summarised by saying that the Board was requested to approve the recommendation to proceed to construction, and for the programme of works to start immediately to take advantage of the available road space, increase in daylight hours and the allocated funding.
Mr Tim Stonor spoke on this item and this is recorded in the Public Session part of the minutes.
In the debate which followed, Members raised points which included:
· The scheme had improved a bit, with the pedestrian crossings;
· would like to see improvements for cyclists, particularly on the westbound carriageway, and suggested incorporating an advanced stop line for cyclists, which would make a big difference, and help when turning down into The Mall;
· using the footway as a shared space on the south side would help;
· staggered crossing were not a good system, they needed to be more direct and user-friendly;
· endorse the speaker’s recommendations to work with the people who were already involved in designs in Faversham;
· in terms of traffic modelling, what implications would increased housing and industrial development at Brenley Corner have on the way this junction had been reviewed?
· acknowledged the importance to move this forward to improve traffic flow;
· lights were a better option than a roundabout;
· welcomed the three pedestrian crossing points;
· weakness of the scheme is the lack of facilities for cyclists;
· would like KCC to work with Faversham Town Council on this; and
· needed to create a better sense of place at the junction.
Councillor Julian Saunders moved the following amendment:
That in implementing the scheme KCC should continue to work actively with the Town Council and the local community to:
a. Further address the constraints on cycling and walking around this junction and on the A2.
b. create a better sense of place at the junction.
That it should report back regularly to the JTB on progress against this condition.
Members made further comments which included:
· Concerned that work had already begun;
· what would be the consequences of going back and looking at the amendments that were suggested?
· a lot of people were pleased that something was now happening at this junction;
· appreciated the work officers had done so far;
· agreed with the importance of sense of place and look and feel;
· this location would be more central to Faversham in the future;
· cycling needed to be catered for more at the junction;
· was there a Toucan crossing here?
· welcomed the footpath to the Abbey School;
· was there going to be at crossing at The Mall?
· was it possible to make improvements for cyclists as set-out in the LTN 1/20?
· the original scheme had much improved, but there was still room for improvement;
· this was a medium-term solution, much need by residents and it should be progressed;
· there were frequent issues of vehicles using rat-runs, suggested using gatemen on rural lanes; and
· what were the consequences if this scheme did not go ahead?
The Senior Programme Manager responded to the questions and points made, as noted below:
· The design was never intended to be place-making, it was a standard design, with no urban design advice;
· the scheme was well advanced on design, there could be alterations, but the geometry of some of the lines meant that it would not be a quick fix;
· officers were aware of the LTN 1/20 and pedestrian and cycling facilities had been included at the junction;
· the crossings were Toucan crossings;
· there was no additional space for cyclists, unless it was taken from land assigned for vehicular use, but the aim was to try and increase the capacity of the junction;
· there was no highway space on the A2 for cycle facilities for any length, lead-ups were needed to encourage cyclists, so needed to be segregated;
· an advanced stop line for cyclists was possible, but it caused a short delay when the lights turned green;
· land to the east of the A251 was at a premium;
· could have a look a direct crossings, although staggered crossings enabled more space on the central islands, and to-date staggered seemed to be the most appropriate;
· happy to work with Faversham Town Council;
· if there were any significant changes to the scheme this would cause a delay;
· traffic modelling included all known developments in the area, with some spare capacity;
· this was medium-term capacity, and could change in the future;
· officers could talk with Faversham Town Council about improving cycle provision;
· there was limited funding for the junction;
· in terms of the amendment, need to consider the demand for road space, and there could be a knock-on effect on the schedule;
· The Mall was being looked at to see if the pedestrian facilities could be improved, it was unlikely to be straight across because of the narrow footway, and further improvements would be required;
· officers could try and do further improvements and follow LTN 1/20, and work with Faversham Town Council; and
· the issue of rat-runs could be looked at to see what was practicable on the nearby country lanes.
The Chairman asked that Ospringe, Sheldwich and Selling Parish Councils be included in any discussions on the rat-run issues.
Councillor Julian Saunders spoke on his amendment and said that he was not looking to slow down work on the scheme, but he wanted constant dialogue. His amendment was seconded by Councillor Eddie Thomas.
In response to a question about whether the amendment would delay progress of the scheme, the Senior Programme Manager explained that this would depend what came out of the meetings, but if matters could be kept moving, it should not be a problem.
Members voted on the recommendation in the report, with the amendment noted above and the vote was agreed. The Chairman asked that it be recorded that he abstained from the vote.
(1) That construction of the scheme be recommended.
(2) That in implementing the scheme KCC should continue to work actively with the Town Council and the local community to:
a. Further address the constraints on cycling and walking around this junction and on the A2;
b. create a better sense of place at the junction; and that it should report back regularly to the JTB on progress against this condition.
- A251-A2 JTB report final, item 493. PDF 155 KB
- A251 - A2 Annex 1 - Consultation report summary, item 493. PDF 2 MB
- A251 - A2 Annex 2 - Consultation responses, item 493. PDF 622 KB
- A251 - A2 Annex 3 - Proposed design, item 493. PDF 370 KB