A crucial part of the proposals for Borough Green Gardens is the inclusion of a much-needed Relief Road, created to improve access and reduce existing traffic on the A25 and A227. This is something that local people have campaigned for over a number of years, and we are pleased to be able to deliver.
We are entirely committed to providing this Relief Road for Borough Green and are in ongoing discussions with the Council on how best to deliver this most effectively, having regard to environmental and economic factors. Given the continued mineral extraction ongoing on parts of the site, we are looking to bring this forward in two distinct phases as part of the development.
The BGG relief-road provides a unique opportunity to make a significant contribution towards meeting strategic requirements, whilst at the same time assisting in reducing the impacts of the A25 by decreasing through traffic and improving air quality.
It is therefore recognised that the delivery of the relief-road is of considerable wider strategic importance, and understandably there is significant interest as to the likely timing/implementation of this important infrastructure.
The key benefit of the proposed relief-road is the diversion of traffic from the existing A25 through Borough Green onto the new relief-road.
It is envisaged that the relief-road will be delivered in two phases, namely:
• Phase 1a: A25 to A227
• Phase 1b/1c: A227 to A20
Phase One – linking the A25 at Ightam Roundabout to the A227 to the north of Borough Green – would see over 900 existing vehicles diverting to use this section during the morning peak and over 700 existing vehicles using it during the evening peak, removing those vehicle movements from the centre of Borough Green.
Phase Two – linking the A227 to the A20 to the south of Junction 2a of the M26 – would see an additional 600 existing vehicles using the relief-road during the morning peak and in excess of 450 additional existing vehicles using it during the evening peak.
Delivery of the relief-road will also be accompanied by other supporting highways works, including potential for traffic calming measures along the A25 and A227, as well as others to be agreed where necessary with Highways England and Kent County Council.
Borough Green Gardens is committed to the early implementation of the full relief-road, and therefore the full benefit of it (i.e. from diverting traffic away from the existing village) will be experienced well before the vast majority of the development is built itself. It is acknowledged that new residents will generate new additional traffic movements, but these will be sought to be minimised with the implementation of a sustainable transport strategy, which would reduce the need for vehicle movements and provide real opportunities for non-car travel for everyday journeys, which would ensure that existing residents see a significant improvement in traffic movements and air quality levels.
As part of our work in bringing forward the site, we have undertaken in depth traffic surveys from around Borough Green, Wrotham, Platt, Ightham and the surrounding area, including parts of the A20, A25 and A227. This resulting data confirms that a significant proportion of traffic on the A25 and A227 at the morning and evening peak is traffic that does not start or end its journey in Borough Green, using it as a through route only. This ‘through traffic’ consists of over 900 vehicle movements per hour during the morning peak, and over 700 per hour during the evening peak. Through the implementation of a traffic management and calming scheme this ‘through traffic’ would utilise the Relief Road once completed, substantially reducing traffic movements, and associated air pollution levels, in Borough Green.
The upcoming sustainable transport strategy will include a phased expansion of the scope and frequency of bus routes, linking key destinations within Borough Green Gardens and connecting to local destinations such as Borough Green Station, Kings Hill and Sevenoaks. It also provides dedicated cycle-ways and footpaths linking Borough Green Gardens to local destinations and the opportunity to improve non-vehicle infrastructure at those destinations, such as the provision of improved cycle facilities at Borough Green station.
A further benefit of the Borough Green Gardens proposals is the ability to make use of a ‘cut and fill’ strategy within the confines of the site to address ground levels. In many cases, larger developments require substantial numbers of Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) movements to and from the site, to either remove or bring in soil for landscaping and levelling purposes. Because the land comprises either substantial holes in the ground or areas which are already consented for clay extraction, we can make use of the existing topography to ensure that the majority of cutting and filling can be conducted within the confines of the site, thereby minimising external HGV movement. This approach has the additional benefit that we can minimise the impact of the development on surrounding areas by effectively screening views into the site by reducing the level of buildings.
As preparation for this, extensive surveys and analysis of the surrounding landscapes and views, have already been undertaken. The consortium is commissioning detailed surveys, in parallel with the ground investigation works taking place, to ensure that unnecessary vehicle movements during the construction phase are kept to an absolute minimum.
A relief road as a viable alternative to “East-facing slips” to Junction 5 of the M25/M26/A21.
While new East Facing slips at Junction 5 would be welcomed in Borough Green and the surrounding Parishes, it is not likely to happen anytime soon.
Various options for new slip roads have been assessed as being of limited benefit based on independent assessment.
An independent assessment was commissioned by Kent County Council, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and the Kent Association of Local Councils in July 2016 to ascertain the economic and environmental case for such a project against the associated costs of the scheme.
The report identified provision of new slip roads as unviable, demonstrating only a weak economic case for undertaking the scheme.
It also highlighted that local support for the proposals is only lukewarm, with approval from Borough Green and the surrounding Parish Councils- but none from Parishes in the vicinity of the new road works.
However a Relief Road at Borough Green Gardens – will improve Borough Green traffic, air quality and noise issues – without unnecessary recourse to Public Funds.