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Councillors to review traffic modelling report at next week’s local plan panel

Published Monday 7 February, 2022
Last updated on Monday 7 February, 2022

Councillors will be reviewing the possible traffic impacts of potential development across the borough next week.

Swale Borough Council’s local plan panel will be discussing a specially commissioned report which looks at detailed traffic modelling for proposed developments in the draft local plan.

The detailed report identifies capacity issues at key junctions across the road network. These will need design and engineering solutions if the council is to allocate enough land to meet the development needs of the borough to 2038.

If solutions can’t be found it will be difficult for the council to meet the development targets set by Government.  If the council can’t identify enough development to meet these targets it would need to present evidence to justify why. This would then be considered by the planning inspector who will be responsible for approving the plan for final approval.

Cllr Mike Baldock, cabinet member for planning at the council, said:

“We’ll be reviewing the new detailed traffic modelling report at next week’s local plan panel meeting, although I have long suspected that Swale’s road network cannot cope with the level of development expected of us by the government.

“The report shows that the sites outlined in the draft plan will have an impact on our road network, and while congestion has unfortunately become a part of life, it’s essential that our road safety and air quality will not be compromised.

“We’ll discuss how to move forward at the meeting, but it’s clear that we’ll need to continue to work with experienced traffic modelling engineers, National Highways and Kent County Council to see if solutions can be found.

“If proper solutions can’t be found, we may need to deliver a local plan for approval that doesn’t meet government targets. If this is the case, we’ll have to supply robust evidence.

“Once this work has been done, we can then include it in the draft local plan and put it out for comment in our next regulation 19 consultation later this year.

“We want to make sure our draft local plan is as effective and comprehensive as possible before we ask for further comment from members of the public.

“We want to get this right for residents. Councils around the country are expected to meet government targets, or provide evidence that show otherwise, and we want to do that in a way that doesn’t impact our residents already living in the borough.”

The report and meeting agenda can be viewed here.

The local plan panel meeting will be held at 7pm on Thursday, 17 February in the council chamber at Swale House.

Members of the public can join in-person or virtually via Teams (link available the day before).