The city and county councils have announced their intention to build an eastern bypass for Canterbury.
They say a new road linking the A28 Sturry Road to the A2 at Bridge would take through traffic away from the ring road and central Canterbury
And it would ease congestion and reduce pollution, they said in an announcement tonight.
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Canterbury City Council leader Simon Cook said: “We work very closely with the county council on the road network in and around the city and the improvements that are needed in the future, connected to population growth and the needs of businesses.
“We know that the government sees Canterbury as being a centre for growth in Kent, and we are keen on increasing prosperity and job creation. This requires housing to support those extra jobs, as well as ensuring our own residents and their children have good, affordable homes to live in.
“Planning for this future never stops, and together, we have agreed that now is the time to get this ambitious scheme off the ground. It is very early days and there is much work to do, but we will be seeking to push this forward as a priority for Canterbury.”
KCC Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport and Waste, Mike Whiting, said: “We are pleased to support Canterbury City Council in its ambition for what would be a major new piece of road infrastructure to support their own development plans and those of the wider east Kent region.
”We recognise Canterbury is an ever-growing city and with the increase in new homes comes an increasing population. For that reason we will work with Canterbury City Council on potential routes and sources of funding.”
The council has been previously criticised for failing to do enough to tackle traffic congestion and poor air quality.
Critics argue the Mountfield Park development in south Canterbury where 4,000 new homes are to be built, and the new Station Road West multi-storey car park are both likely to make the situation worse. The new bypass will go some way to addressing locals’ concerns.
Both schemes face legal challenges which could cost council taxpayers large amounts of money and delay work starting indefinitely.
Campaigners against the projects will now be wondering if new lines of defence will need to be drawn up if the joint issues of traffic congestion and air pollution are at least in part mitigated by the new bypass.
However, like the Mountfield Park development and the Station Road West car park, the bypass will have its own legal hurdles to overcome. It may be some years before the road is built.