Nid ydym yn gwybod a yw'r ymateb mwyaf diweddar i'r cais hwn yn cynnwys gwybodaeth neuai peidio - os chi ywPaul Chapman mewngofnodwch a gadael i bawb wybod.

Roadworks A20 / Hermitage Lane

We're waiting for Paul Chapman to read recent responses and update the status.

Dear Kent County Council,

Can you please tell me the total cost of the current roadworks, and if council tax payers should be expected to foot the bill for something that any blind fool could see was going to be a nightmare a year ago when work first started?

Should the cost for this whole debacle not be borne by the developer who seemed to think doing the absolute bare minimum was enough in the first place?

And is there any joined-up thinking re the house building projects currently going on all the way up Hermitage Lane, a road which is pretty much nose-to-tail from end to end for most of the day? Did anyone sit down and try to work out where a thousand extra cars were going to go to or was it just a land grab and to hell with the consequences [and if we need to build more roads the council tax payer can cough up for it]?

Yours faithfully,

Paul Chapman

Kent County Council

Dear Mr Chapman

 

Thank you for your email below.

 

Kent County Council acknowledges your request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Assuming KCC holds this information, we
will endeavour to supply the data to you as soon as possible but no later
than 11^th October 2017 (20 working days from date of receipt).

 

We will advise you as soon as possible if we do not hold this information
or if there are exemptions to be considered and/or any costs for providing
the information. Please quote our reference - FOI/17/1559 - in any
communication regarding this particular request.

 

Best regards,

 

Jemila Dodge | Information Access Officer | Information Resilience &
Transparency Team | Kent County Council | Room 2.71, Sessions House,
Maidstone, ME14 1XQ | Phone: 03000 416034 |
[1]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...
|

 

Kent County Council

Dear Mr Chapman

 

Thank you for your request for information made under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) 2000 regarding the on-going roadworks and
development along the B2246 Hermitage Lane corridor in Maidstone. I am
pleased to provide the response below:

 

1.    Widening works on the B2246 Hermitage Lane commenced at the end of
September 2017 and will be completed by December 2017. The estimated cost
of the scheme is £350k and will be funded through development
contributions.

 

2.    When assessing proposals for new development, Kent County Council is
required to act in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework
(NPPF). The NPPF is founded on a presumption in favour of “sustainable
development” and KCC Highways and Transportation officers are bound by law
to work with applicants to minimise the impact of their proposals, rather
than look for reasons to object. Kent County Council is consulted about
developments but it is the district/borough council that grants planning
permission, therefore our objective is to manage the growth in demand for
travel as best as possible, although we acknowledge that these pressures
will cause some inconvenience and additional congestion for all road
users.

 

The NPPF also requires that planning conditions and obligations, which are
the mechanisms used to secure off-site highway works, are only sought if a
series of tests are all met. The tests relate to the necessity and
relevance of the required works, and whether they are fair and reasonable
in scale and kind to the development. They therefore restrict the County
Council from requiring a developer to provide highway improvements that go
beyond the minimum that is necessary to support the development.  

3.    The County Council has consistently maintained the view that a
plan-led approach to development provides the most effective means of
ensuring that the infrastructure necessary to support growth is delivered
when it is needed. It is unfortunate that the absence of an up-to-date
adopted Local Plan in Maidstone has resulted in piecemeal development and
we have sought to manage the growth in demand as best as possible, whilst
acknowledging that these pressures will cause some inconvenience.

The multitude of planning applications for new housing along Hermitage
Lane has necessitated a co-ordinated approach to the mitigation of traffic
impact. Financial contributions have been secured that will enable
junction improvements to be implemented at the most congested hotspots.
These hotspots include:

o M20 Junction 5
o A20 Coldharbour Lane Roundabout
o A26 Tonbridge Road/Fountain Lane/Farleigh Lane Crossroads

As the payment of contributions is tied to occupation of the houses, the
County Council intends to use its Local Growth Fund allocation to
accelerate delivery of the above improvements. This ensures that road
users will benefit from improved road conditions at the earliest possible
opportunity. 

 

If you are unhappy with this response, and believe KCC has not complied
with legislation, please ask for a review by following our complaints
process; details can be found at this link
[1]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...
on our website. Please quote reference FOI/17/1559.

 

If you still remain dissatisfied following an internal review, you can
appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should
you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the
Information Commissioner’s website [2]http://www.ico.org.uk/concerns.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Kirsty-Leigh Robertson| Information Access Officer | Information
Resilience & Transparency Team | Room 2.71, Sessions House, Maidstone |
Phone 03000 418301 | Fax 03000 420303 |
[3]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...
|

 

Dear Kent County Council,

Dear Kent County Council,

It sounds like the typical bureaucracy nightmare we all love to pay for.

I would like to pull you on one thing:

"KCC Highways and Transportation officers are bound by law
to work with applicants to minimise the impact of their proposals"

How does that work in practice? They want to build a million houses, you say the roads can't cope, they object and get permission for 999,999, on top of which they have to pay for road improvements. Are these improvements done at the time or a year later as in this case?

Is the developer of the Aldi/McDonalds being asked to contribute anything to these current roadworks, being as they are near as dammit the sole cause of the hold-ups on the A20 in both directions? If not, why not? And was this anticipated in the impact report before permission was granted?

You have to see it from a council taxpayer's side - that this development was allowed to go ahead with everyone but the planning department aware before a single shovelful was dug, that it would cause huge tailbacks if the only access was via Hermitage Lane. Not to mention the illegal procedures used by the builders whereby they refused to install a wheelwash which meant the A20 was covered in crap for six months!

Because if we are asked to contribute to the department responsible for doing this job, which they obviously cannot do any better than a man in a car driving past, then I have to wonder why we bother paying someone to do it? How many other developments are given the go-ahead with the builder/developer not being responsible for the nightmare of two sets of roadworks a year apart, purely because nobody thought it would be so much hassle?

And finally - are there any plans to look at the roundabouts you mention and removing the traffic lights? They currently do nothing but slow the flow of traffic by at least 20 seconds per minute, with no pedestrians ever using it. Surely Kent Highways' remit is to keep the traffic moving, not stopping it from doing so, not using the excuse that there are lights at Coldharbour because there always have been? That is hardly progress, is it?

Yours faithfully,

Paul Chapman

Kent County Council

Dear Mr Chapman

 

Thank you for your email below.

 

Kent County Council acknowledges your request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Assuming KCC holds this information, we
will endeavour to supply the data to you as soon as possible but no later
than 6th November 2017 (20 working days from date of receipt).

 

We will advise you as soon as possible if we do not hold this information
or if there are exemptions to be considered and/or any costs for providing
the information. Please quote our reference - FOI/17/1707 - in any
communication regarding this particular request.

 

Regards

 

Peter Wylie | Access Information Officer  | Information Resilience &
Transparency Team | Room 2.71, Sessions House, Maidstone | Tel 03000
415563 | Fax 03000 420303 |
[1]http://knet/ourcouncil/Pages/information... |

 

 

Kent County Council

Dear Mr Chapman

 

Thank you for your request for information made under the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) 2000, relating to KCC Highways and Transportation
officers. I am pleased to provide our response below:

 

"KCC Highways and Transportation officers are bound by law to work with
applicants to minimise the impact of their proposals"

 

You have queried the part of our previous response which states that KCC
Highways and Transportation officers are bound by law to work with
applicants to minimise the impact of their proposals.

 

To clarify, the National Planning Policy Framework, produced by the
Department for Communities and Local Government, sets out the government’s
planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.
This states that ‘At the heart of the National Planning Policy Framework
is a presumption in favour of sustainable development’. ‘Development
should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the
residual cumulative impacts of development are severe.’

 

All developments that generate significant amounts of movement should be
supported by a Transport Assessment. This assesses the impact of the
development on the highway in terms of access, safety and capacity. The
applicants are required to mitigate any significant impacts of the
development on the highway by providing highway improvements and these
improvements are required to be proportionate to the development. In the
case of the Aldi/McDonalds development this included the works to the
junction onto Hermitage Lane and the linking of the traffic signals at the
junction of the site access with those at the A20/Hermitage Lane junction.

 

Since that application was granted, further development has come forward
in the Hermitage Lane area and in advance of the local plan. Unfortunately
the absence of an up-to-date adopted Local Plan in Maidstone resulted in
piecemeal development and this has had an impact on the highway network.
Funding has been secured for improvements to key junctions including the
A20/Hermitage Lane, A20/Coldharbour Lane, M20 Junction 5, A26/Fountains
Lane/Farleigh Lane and Hermitage Lane/Fountains Lane/Heath Road/St Andrews
Road and these improvements are programmed for delivery between 2018 and
2020. The funding for these works is from developer contribution and Local
Growth Funding which allows for new highway infrastructure provision to
facilitate growth. Your suggestions regarding the traffic signals at
Coldharbour roundabout have been passed to the project manager in order
that they can be incorporated into the design for the improvement scheme,
if appropriate.

 

The current improvement works in the vicinity of the retail site are due
for completion in December and information on the works can be found on
the KCC website by using this link [1]http://moorl.uk/?e639pr.

 

Your concerns regarding the level of development in the Hermitage Lane
area and the congestion being experienced are understandable and we look
forward to the completion of the current roadworks when delays and
congestion will be improved.

 

KCC Highways and Transportation did request that wheel washing facilities
be provided prior to the commencement of work and for the duration of
construction and the Local Planning Authority included an informative in
the decision notice for the planning permission stating that ‘no surface
water shall run off the application site onto the public highway’. It is
the responsibility on the Local Planning Authority, Tonbridge and Malling
Borough Council to enforce the conditions of the decision notice.

 

Contact information for the Local Council’s in and around Kent can be
found at the following link
[2]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council.....

 

I can confirm the Coldharbour roundabouts are under review and as stated
above and we are sure the project manager will consider all options,
including removal of the traffic signals, if that is the best way forward.

 

If you are unhappy with this response, and believe KCC has not complied
with legislation, please ask for a review by following our complaints
process; details can be found at this link
[3]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...
on our website. Please quote reference FOI/17/1707.

 

If you still remain dissatisfied following an internal review, you can
appeal to the Information Commissioner, who oversees compliance with the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Details of what you need to do, should
you wish to pursue this course of action, are available from the
Information Commissioner’s website [4]http://www.ico.org.uk/concerns.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Jemila Dodge | Information Access Officer | Information Resilience &
Transparency Team | Kent County Council | Room 2.71, Sessions House,
Maidstone, ME14 1XQ | Phone: 03000 416034 |
[5]http://www.kent.gov.uk/about-the-council...
|

 

 

Dear Kent County Council,

Thank you for your reply.

My main concern is that anyone could have [and did] foresee problems with the A20/Hermitage Lane junction eighteen months ago when building was first started.

As some sort of impact report would have been made, why was it not acted upon and dealt with when the building work was being carried out, no doubt costing less than £350k and with no need to yet again make a mess of the junction for three months a year later?

The point really is, why bother employing people to do a job when they either have no idea how to do it, or if their conclusions are going to be completely ignored? Impact assessments are done for a reason.

As for the wheel wash, there never was one, I reported it to the police several times and they were quite frankly told one lie after another by the builders. Next time I will do as I threatened and park across the offending exit and call the police myself, because the cost to my business was not something I should have had to fork out. The A20 from Hermitage Lane was a mud slick for two months and nobody did a thing.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Chapman

Kent County Council

Dear Mr Chapman

Thank you for your email to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Team dated the 7th November 2017 which has been passed to me to respond to in my capacity as Director for Highways, Transportation and Waste.

I appreciate your concerns and would like to reassure you that, as mentioned in the response you received from the FOI team, the congestion at the junction of Hermitage Lane with the retail site is being addressed by the current improvement scheme which is almost complete.

I trust that you find the above information useful.

Yours sincerely

Roger Wilkin
Director of Highways, Transportation & Waste

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Kent County Council,

Thank you for your reply. We are all very well aware that there is a second set of roadworks less than 12 months after the first, in exactly the same place. My concern is that we pay you people to formulate a longer term plan than 9 months, and you have failed us dismally.

So to continue this, I will ask for more specific information:

Had this traffic chaos been foreseen by the traffic planning department, how much money would have been saved to have done all that work at the time the buildings and car parks were being laid out? And again, WHY, WHEN IT IS YOUR DEPARTMENT'S JOB, WAS THIS NOT DONE AT THE TIME? You have to understand, thousands of us commuted daily past that building site and I can pretty much guarantee that most of us saw this nightmare coming, AND IT ISN'T EVEN OUR JOBS TO DO SO!

In a nutshell I think we can assume that Kent Highways failed to do the job they are paid to do. What I want to know is who is responsible, how much this sort of thing costs every year, and how we get the idiots who are paid to see what the rest of us can, out of the position they hold?

Obviously Kent Highways is a huge cockup that just exists to swallow funding, and of course TO PUT TRAFFIC LIGHTS EVERYWHERE.

A further question - is the first reaction to any traffic problems to order a new set of traffic lights? It seems to be the case that if there's a roundabout, KH's position is to add traffic lights to do no more than cause congestion. So is that the case, and do KH ever look at a set of lights and think "Hang on, this is a right mess we created there, rather than have traffic stop-start, why don't we take the lights out altogether?"?

Yours faithfully,

Paul Chapman

Kent County Council

Dear Mr Chapman

Thank you for your further email dated 5 December. I am sorry that you have been unhappy with our responses to date and I have therefore reviewed your complaint, under Stage 1 of the County Council’s complaints procedure, copy attached for your information.

As part of my review I have discussed your earlier correspondence and our reply with the accountable senior manager, in this case our Development & Transport Planning Manager, David Joyner. He has confirmed that any planning application which is likely to lead to a significant increase in traffic requires the completion of a Transport Assessment. This provides an impact appraisal on the suitability of the development in terms of highway safety, accessibility and congestion. Where appropriate, highway improvements are provided to accommodate the additional traffic generated by the development and/or to improve the accessibility of the site. This is in accordance with the policies set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which requires Local Highway Authorities to consider each application on its own merits and adopt a presumption in favour of “sustainable development”.

Section 4, paragraph 32 of the NPPF states that ‘Development should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the residual cumulative impacts of development are severe’. The use of the word severe in the framework effectively prevents Highways Authorities from recommending objections to proposals that could result in some worsening of an existing congestion problem, even if this worsening may seem significant to local people.

The decision to grant permission for the retail development, including the access arrangements from Hermitage Lane, was made by the local planning authority Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council. Consultation was made with Kent County Council Highways, and the junction arrangement was subjected to rigorous checks on safety and capacity. The retail site has proved to be a popular destination, and it seems that the demand is higher than anticipated when the application was made in 2013. This may be due to the current and relatively recent success of discount food stores and the widespread positive publicity they have received, together with in store incentives to improve efficiencies at the checkout and increase demand. The situation has been compounded by the additional traffic generated by the developments along the south end of Hermitage Lane, and by temporary roadworks. Thankfully funding has been secured from developers and the Local Growth Fund for improvements to key junctions including the A20/Hermitage Lane, A20/Coldharbour Lane, M20 Junction 5, A26/Fountains Lane/Farleigh Lane and Hermitage Lane/Fountains Lane/Heath Road/St Andrews Road; these are programmed for delivery between 2018 and 2020.

Whilst I agree that the introduction of traffic signals is not always the best solution to achieve capacity improvements, when signals are introduced they are always considered along with other potential solutions. Traffic signals are advantageous in safely controlling the flow of traffic at junctions, but roundabouts and priority junctions are also efficient solutions to junctions in the right place. The type of junction arrangement is dependent on the traffic flows on each arm of the junction, the availability of land, and safety. Whilst a priority give way junction may sometimes appear to be a better solution this may not be the safest solution where traffic flows are high. A roundabout may not be suitable where traffic flows are uneven or where there is limited land availability.

As Director of Highways, Transportation & Waste I have reviewed the earlier responses to you, and your subsequent complaint that staff have ‘failed to do the job they are paid to do’. Following my investigation and review I confirm that I am not able to uphold your complaint. I believe the decisions and actions taken by my Highway team were in line with both our own and national practice.

I trust this response clarifies our position, however if you remain dissatisfied, you can escalate your complaint in writing to Barbara Cooper, Corporate Director for Growth, Environment & Transport, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone ME14 1XQ at the final stage, Stage 2, of our complaints procedure.

Yours sincerely,

Roger Wilkin
Director of Highways, Transportation & Waste

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Kent County Council

1 Atodiad

Dear Mr. Chapman,

Apologies, complaints procedures now attached.

Yours sincerely,

Roger Wilkin
Director of Highways, Transportation & Waste 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Nid ydym yn gwybod a yw'r ymateb mwyaf diweddar i'r cais hwn yn cynnwys gwybodaeth neuai peidio - os chi ywPaul Chapman mewngofnodwch a gadael i bawb wybod.

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org