Members of the public have the opportunity to speak at this meeting. Anyone wishing to present a petition or speak on this item is required to register with the Democratic Services Section by noon on Friday 1 March 2019. Questions that have not been submitted by this deadline will not be accepted. Only two people will be allowed to speak on each item and each person is limited to asking two questions. Each speaker will have a maximum of three minutes to speak.
Petitions, questions and statements will only be accepted if they are in relation to an item being considered at this meeting.
A representative from Highways England will be making a presentation on the M2 Junction 5 Improvements.
The Chairman welcomed Harshal Cholake (Project Manager, Atkins) and Camelia Lichtl (Project Manager, Highways England) to the meeting.
Mr Cholake gave a presentation on the M2 Junction 5 Improvements which provided an update on the scheme and covered the following:
· Why were these improvements required; and
· scheme objectives.
· Scheme stages;
· Option 12a presented at Public Consultation;
· results of Public Consultation on Proposed Option;
· 68% of the respondents disagreed with Option 12a;
· the alternative solutions proposed by respondents steered towards a fly-over of the roundabout for the A249;
· Option 4H1 was developed after the public consultation, and a flyover option was announced as the preferred route on 30 May 2018; and
· the scheme was now at Stage 3 – Preliminary Design for the flyover and roundabout without signalling, with dedicated left turns.
· Construction was expected to commence in March 2020, with completion by August 2021.
Members’ comments and questions were invited.
A Member asked whether there would be a delay due to funding not being fully committed, and what the impact on traffic would be over the 18 months of construction? Ms Lichtl explained that Highways England (HE) had been liaising with Kent County Council (KCC) to identify other sources of funding. Funds from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) amounted to £2.5million. She explained that risk workshops had been carried out to drive efficiencies and keep costs down, and the scheme was based on minimum land uptake. The Member asked how large the funding gap was and Ms Lichtl explained that it remained at £20million, but this might go down a bit. The HE Commercial Team continually reassessed the project, and rising VAT costs caused variances. Mr Cholake explained that traffic management during construction was being looked at with the contractor, with offline construction being carried out first, then worked from outside to inside.
A Member asked for details of the footpath from Stockbury Church. Ms Lichtl explained that a business case had been developed for a footbridge, with an additional pot of money for this, and it was hoped that this would be approved on 11 March 2019. The Member was disappointed that with regard to the turn-off from the A2 from London, no improvements had been proposed on the right-hand turn, with traffic still queued up along the motorway. He suggested it was better to have a dedicated lane further down the A249, and considered the present scheme was a short term fix, and with additional housing in five to 10 years, the same congestion would result. Ms Lichtl explained that changes to this junction had been taken out because they were too expensive. Traffic modelling had been carried out based on the currant Local Plan. Mr Cholake added that the modelling had not included projected modelling for the future Local Plan. A modelled dedicated left-turn at 40mph had not indicated queuing. He acknowledged there were issues, but proposals to reduce the speed limit would help mitigate these.
A Parish Councillor considered the slip road northbound to the A249 was substandard, particularly when taking into account the amount of heavy goods vehicles that used this route. He requested the freight figures used in the modelling and Mr Cholake confirmed that he would send them to him.
A Kent County Council Member advised that he had heard from the Minister that the scheme would be delivered on time. He asked how bus services would be effected by the construction works and requested information on the diversion routes, and whether these were capable of taking double-decker buses. Mr Cholake confirmed that he would forward this information to the Member. He also informed Members that the information within the presentation was available to view online.
The Chairman thanked Mr Cholake and Ms Lichtl for attending the meeting.
The Chairman welcomed the members of the public to the meeting.
Mr Ben Martin, a local resident, presented a petition for a bypass to the village of Ospringe on the A2 at Faversham, on behalf of local residents. Mr Martin explained that the air pollution regularly exceeded international safety standards, and the road was too narrow for HGVs. He added that sometimes the lorries mounted the pavements, and this together with the air pollution, and traffic noise was very dangerous to local primary school children. Mr Martin considered the situation had gone on too long and action needed to be taken.
The Chairman accepted the petition which was passed to officers so that a report could be submitted to a future meeting of the Board.
Mr Michael Dowe, a local resident, requested that parking permits be introduced for residents in Capel Road, Sittingbourne. He explained that the parking bays had already been installed, and that Capel Road was becoming extremely busy, and often used by commuters to park there. He considered all that was now required was for the signage to be added. Mr Dowe explained that if parking permits were introduced for Capel Road, this would put the road on the same footing as Park Road and Albany Road, Sittingbourne and would be a great value to local residents.
Mr Peter Jacobs, a local resident, also spoke on the introduction of parking permits on Capel Road, Sittingbourne. He outlined the history of the road, where-by past residents had not wanted to have permits, but he considered the permits would give residents the option to park outside their houses.
The Chairman advised that officers would write a report on this matter for submission to a future meeting of the Board.