Swale Borough Council's Leader, Roger Truelove, has responded to questions from Cllr Julian Saunders at the council meeting on Wednesday 6th January about the much-needed upgrade of Brenley Corner in Faversham.
Cllr Saunders asked the leader about his view of the strategic importance of improvements to Brenley Corner and to outline Kent County Council’s position.
Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader at the council, told SFM News: “Improvements to Junction 7 of the M2 must be a principal infrastructure priority for us, Kent County Council (KCC), and the Government. It is essential for local, domestic, and international transport and trade now that we find ourselves in the position of coming to terms with new economic norms. Planners and politicians have spoken for the last decade about having two strategic transport corridors through Kent, but the delivery of this has been constrained by the inadequacies of Junction 7. It has been said to be a strategic priority for some time and has direct impact on the A249 corridor, yet progress is glacial. The current design that mixes strategic and local traffic is inadequate and causes it to operate below capacity.
Cllr Truelove went on to add: “Brenley Corner was included in the Government’s Roads Investment Strategy (RIS2) for a study in the period 2020-2025, however that does not guarantee any funding for the project. We are pressing for an urgent upgrade to Brenley Corner for economic and infrastructure reasons, but also for clarity and certainty for our revised Local Plan. Highways England have stated that local development should make sufficient contributions to fund the upgrade needed but this is not good enough. It would not meet the need to serve the growth of strategic national and international traffic flows, or for any future housing which neighbouring districts will have to deliver in response to Government targets. The government must provide more certainty about improvements at Junction 7. Without this, the strategic route, to and from Dover, will remain substandard and the growth opportunities available to Swale and East Kent will be severely limited.
To sum up Cllr Truelove said: “In terms of KCC’s position, they support Highways England and collaborate with them on design work, however it seems they accept the serious funding delay until after 2024 – or maybe longer. This isn’t a Swale issue; it’s a Kent issue, particularly for East Kent. Historically infrastructure developments such as Junction 5 of the A249 have been a distraction from the issues at Brenley Corner but these now need to be raised up the political agenda as a matter of urgency.”