74% cost increase forecast for A21 improvements. The most recent National Audit Office report on the Government's Road Investment Strategy reveals that road building projects are facing an extra £500 million in costs. Included in this cost is a 74% budget increase forecast for the A21 Tonbridge to Pembury project. Liberal Democrat MP, John Pugh, member of the Public Accounts Committee commented: “The government has built just 5% of the roads they have announced. The report is damning. It is the civil servant version of a justified character assassination. This whole scheme is late and over-budget.” Read the full report for more info.
Congestion and air pollution. Residents often talk to me about their concerns about rising levels of congestion in and around Tunbridge Wells. Many agree that the root cause of this problem is the sharp rise in population from 2005-2010. The heightened population has had many adverse consequences. Unless we solve the traffic problem the town will be unable to accommodate the rising housing needs and the increase in cars. According to Department for Transport guidance, a road such as St. John's greatly exceeds its maximum volume of cars. The Council has legal obligations with regard to air quality as well as health obligations, which are clearly not being met. See Agenda item 5 of the Town Forum minutes for more info on the discussion http://www.townforum.org.uk/minutes/agenda23032017.pdf and for more national info on maximum suggested volumes of cars and air quality see: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/GID-PHG92/documents/draft-guideline
Vision for Royal Tunbridge Wells 2017-2033. A new Local Plan was discussed at last week's Town Forum. During the period 2017 - 2033 Tunbridge Wells will see an increase to its housing, which raises concerns over balancing growth with the historical and commercial aspects of the town, and preserving its green belt areas. The Tunbridge Wells Town Forum have written a paper detailing the challenges and opportunities. The future vision should contain objectives to “attract businesses, especially in the town's specialist fields of education, health, law and insurance, and more recently publishing/new media, entrepreneurs, tourism; and highly skilled residents to work locally or to commute to London.” See Agenda Item 5 of the Town Forum minutes for more detail. http://www.townforum.org.uk/minutes/agenda23032017.pdf
Vehicle Emissions. Already 55 new low emission doubledecker buses have been added to the Stagecoach fleet in Kent and another 30 minibuses by the end of 2016. The introduction of new vehicles to the Kent bus fleet by other Kent bus operators is expected in 2017 and this will help improve air quality. KCC have promised to work with district colleagues to improve air quality where ultra low emission hotspots are proposed. I will lobby for such a scheme to be introduced in the A26 corridor where air pollution is at its highest.
County Council Elections. My name is Marguerita Morton and I am standing for Kent County Council in Tunbridge Wells North. Please let me know if you would like to help with my campaign. I can be reached on [email protected] or 07715695169.
KCC Candidate for Tunbridge Wells North