The Faversham Society is one of the largest civic societies in England, with over 1300 members. The Society is concerned about the growth of road traffic and its impact on our historic town, and has called on Kent County Council to develop a Road Traffic Strategy for Faversham.
Faversham is accessed by the M2 (junctions 6 and 7) and the A2. At the level of Faversham, the M2 has only 2 lanes and the A2 is a narrow single carriageway. The preferred route C for a new Thames crossing will put extreme pressure on the M2, which is already under strain. Junction 7 is at the limits of its capacity. There will also be pressure on the A2 as a diversionary route when there are problems on the motorway, as happens frequently. Extra traffic from the new crossing, on top of traffic growth from local developments, will have a damaging effect on traffic flows and congestion in and around Faversham, and on pollution levels. Parts of the A2 through Faversham already exceed permitted levels.
We also have concerns about the increase in freight traffic, since the M2 and A2 are not well-equipped for HGVs, and HGV parking in lay-bys and side roads is a serious problem. Currently, plans for lorry parks and Operation Stack facilities are focused on the M20 route, and there are no plans for the M2/A2 route.
In the consultation documents there is consideration of impact on the areas around the new crossing route, but we can see no impact assessments for the wider area. We would urge that impact assessments and mitigation are extended more widely, across the whole of the East Kent highway network, including the full length of the M2 and A2.
Submitted to KCC 09 Feb 2016
The Board of Trustees of the Faversham Society would like to comment on the proposed alterations at the junction of the A2 and A251 as follows.
- The economic basis for the scheme is not clear. The main aim seems to be to increase capacity for vehicles approaching from the south along the A251, with little benefit for the residents of the Town or for users of the A2. It would be helpful to make public the evidence that the roundabout scheme represents value for money, specifically in terms of the benefit-to-cost ratio, because the money could be spent on other schemes potentially with a higher yield, for example, a blanket 20 mph limit for the Town as a whole.
- There appears to be little benefit in safety terms at the site where the work is to be carried out, and as far as the most vulnerable road users are concerned, the risk could actually increase. A roundabout poses greater risks to pedestrians and cyclists compared with a signal junction, where safe crossing and turning opportunities can be provided. It seems to us that a quantitative assessment using TRL accident prediction models in this case is vital.
- The scheme appears visually intrusive. The extensive road markings, signage and alignment changes are not sympathetic with the local townscape, particularly The Mall as the principal gateway to the Town. The proposed chain link fencing around the south-west corner of the A251 junction is far from ideal.
- Finally, a general comment seems in order. Faversham is a medieval market town extensively zoned with conservation areas whose fabric is sensitive to continuing unchecked traffic growth. The Society would welcome a clear statement about the County Council’s policy in this respect. Residents look to the highway authority to develop policies that encourage people to shift from car usage to other modes of transport that are less damaging to the environment. In broad policy terms, the scheme does nothing to promote other modes and may in fact accomplish the reverse, which in the long run is likely to be self-defeating.