Notcutts included in development plans

Plans to increase traffic capacity around a congested motorway junction have been revealed as part of an ?85m shopping development.?The ?6m improvements will affect three roundabouts near Junction 7 of the M20 and dual a section of road as part of the redevelopment of Newnham Court Shopping Village, Maidstone.?The revamp by Land Securities will enlarge the Notcutts garden centre already at the site and add a 6,980sqm Debenhams and 3,919sqm Waitrose supermarket, creating 1,500 jobs.

The planned road?improvements are supported by KCC and the Highways Agency and have taken into account projected traffic growth over the next 10 years.

The proposals also include improving existing Park and Ride bus links between the town centre and Newnham Court.

Land Securities development director Chris Ward said: ?I believe our plan to spend ?6m on road improvements provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to fix the long-standing problems of traffic congestion at a major gateway to the county town.

?This is a big project and understandably we have had some public feedback anxious to know what impact it will have on local roads.

?People have told us there are already issues with traffic congestion, especially in rush hour, and our own detailed research supports this.?

The ?6m improvements dwarf Kent County Council spending on highway improvements in the last year for the entire county, which was about ?1.7m.

The Land Securities plan will affect the Junction 7 roundabout, the Bearsted Road roundabout and the New Cut Road roundabout.

It will also dual the section of Bearsted Road adjoining the shopping centre.

At Junction 7, signals will be installed to control the flow of traffic while road widening and extra lanes are also planned.

Controlled pedestrian crossings will be installed on the roundabout to provide safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists heading to and from Detling.

Extra lanes and signals will be added to the Bearsted Road and M20 link road roundabout. The same will apply to the New Cut Road and Bearsted Road roundabout.

Mr Ward said: ?Our improvements will create considerably more capacity at these traffic hotspots, and this should leave the local road network functioning far better than it does today, even with the extra development traffic.?

Maidstone Borough Council is expected to vote on a planning application for the ?85m scheme next month.

Mr Ward added: ?This exciting regeneration project represents a great opportunity to enhance the local shopping experience with high-quality stores.

?It will attract more shoppers to visit Maidstone who currently spend their money elsewhere and create more jobs for local people.?


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