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  • Cllr Brian Clark
    Article: Jan 20, 2018
    By Brian Clark

    A junction improvement scheme proposed for the A274 Sutton Road, Willington Street junction was rejected at Maidstone's Joint Transport Board last night. The developer-funded improvements from three Langley park housing sites, were approved in 2014. The scheme proposed tree felling and a width reduction along part of the Bell Meadow grass verge to accommodate widening of the A274. Speeches from residents, highlighting impact on nearby properties, were followed by lengthy debate by councillors, culminating in a motion proposed by county councillor Gary Cooke (Con) to reject the proposal and to develop a smaller scale scheme, without grass verge reduction [Cllr Cooke later conceded in the meeting that verge space may be required].

    Cllr Brian Clark (Lib Dem), who had earlier expressed concerns, proposed an amendment, requesting that KCC Highways officers return to the following Joint Transport Meeting [18/04/18], with a specific timeframe to develop an improved proposal. The amendment included removing the mention of reduction in scheme size or inclusion of further constraints, to allow KCC officers the freedom to fully mitigate the impact of increased traffic, while recognising some of the concerns raised by residents. Although seconded, the chairman did not accept this amendment, and the initial motion was carried.

    Cllr Clark later stated, "While the public and Joint Transport Board members raised some valid reasons to amendment the design, I felt officers should be allowed to consider these concerns and develop a revised or new plan without constraints being set "on the hoof" by the committee. With funding in place and the views of the committee clear, specifying a "reduced scheme" and adding further constraints was unnecessary and could ultimately lead to increased traffic congestion, air pollution and misery for road users along the A274. When asked, officers made it clear that a reduced scheme would not meet the needs of future traffic growth".

    He continued, " A timeframe must also be agreed. If the money is not spent by 2021 for the purpose for which it was approved, as part of planning permission for the Sutton road Developments, it will revert back to the developers and be lost."

    County Councillor Rob Bird (Lib Dem) stated, "I have made clear to Kent Highways that we will not support a purely cosmetic change, which does not deliver improved traffic flows. Furthermore, I have stressed that the hold ups on this scheme should not delay other priority hot-spots such as the Wheatsheaf and Fountain Lane junctions. To lose the LEP monies in such circumstances would be clearly inexcusable."

  • Cllr. Rob Bird
    Article: Dec 12, 2017

    Rob Bird - (Group Leader of Liberal Democrats on KCC), gives his views on Theresa May's BREXIT deal.

    Friday 8th May 2017

    Watch the interview

  • SaveKentsBuses
    Article: Dec 6, 2017

    Please sign our petition to show you are opposed to these services being cut.

    Kent County Council are considering reducing the subsidies on 78 bus routes. The big bus operators have warned that these services could be withdrawn if the subsidies are cut. You can find a list of buses that could be axed by clicking here.

  • Thameslink train
    Article: Dec 6, 2017

    Statement by Liberal Democrat County Councillors Rob Bird, Ian Chittenden & Dan Daley

    The many Maidstone commuters who travel to London each day are incensed by the news that the new Thameslink service has once more been delayed, for a further year until December 2019.

    While other counties continue to benefit from new railways investment and are given priority, West Kent has once again shunted into a siding.

  • Rob Field at the count
    Article: Dec 5, 2017

    North Ward by-election 30th November 2017

    Liberal Democrats Gain Maidstone's North Ward from the Conservatives

    Liberal Democrats have gained the North Ward seat on Maidstone Borough Council left vacant by the sudden resignation of a Conservative Councillor. Councillor Rob Field's return to the Town Hall seals a Liberal Democrat clean sweep of all three seats in the ward.

    Leader of the Council and Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr. Fran Wilson commented: "The trust placed in Rob by the residents of North Ward is a vote of confidence in the Liberal Democrats philosophy of working all year round not just at election time. Rob's victory proves once again communities who have experienced the effectiveness of Lib Dem representation stick with it."

    Newly elected Councillor Rob Field added: "I would like to thank local people for their support and pledge to work tirelessly to tackle the many challenges facing North Maidstone."

    Result

    Rob Field - Liberal Democrat 719

    Conservative 363

    Labour 270

    Green 47

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