SACF response to Kent Transport Plan

Local Transport PlanSouth Ashford Community Forum have started a review of the Draft Local Transport Plan prepared by Kent County Council.

A copy of the response is available at https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/category/consultations/kltp/ or can be downloaded as a pdf.

The Draft Local Transport Plan and associated documents are available from the KCC website:


The draft Local Transport Plan sets out the following Ambition for Kent:

To deliver safe and effective transport, ensuring that all Kent’s communities and businesses benefit, the environment is enhanced and economic growth is supported.

Q3. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the overall Ambition set for the Local Transport Plan?

Strongly agree

Q3a. Please add any comments on the overall Ambition set for the Local Transport Plan


Q4. This Ambition will be realised through five overarching Outcomes and Supporting Policies. To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the Outcomes and Policies?

Outcome 1. Economic growth and minimised congestion.

Policy: Deliver resilient transport infrastructure and schemes to reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability, to enable economic growth and appropriate development.

Strongly agree

Outcome 2. Affordable and accessible door to door journeys.

Policy: Promote affordable, accessible and connected transport to enable access for all to jobs, education, health and other services.

Strongly agree

Outcome 3. Safer travel.

Policy: Provide a safer road, footway and cycleway network to reduce the likelihood of casualties, and encourage other transport providers to improve safety on their networks.

Strongly agree

Outcome 4. Enhanced environment.

Policy: Deliver schemes to reduce the environmental footprint of transport, and enhance the historic and natural environment.

Strongly agree

Outcome 5. Better health and wellbeing.

Policy: Promote active travel choices for all members of the community to encourage good health and wellbeing, and implement measures to improve local air quality.

Strongly agree

Q4a. Please add any comments on the five overarching Outcomes and Supporting Policies


Strategic Priorities

Q5. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the Strategic Priorities for the Local Transport Plan? (Pages 11 to 21 in the LTP)

  • Enabling growth in the Thames Gateway;
    The transport investments that are required to deliver planned development and the measures that need to be taken to bring them forward will be prioritised. Transport schemes include enhancements to the road network along the A2 corridor and public transport improvements including extending Crossrail into Kent. These measures require strategic Government decisions, public sector funding and efforts to secure private investment. Transport improvements needed to deliver growth in the Thames Gateway Kent:

    • A2 Bean junction upgrade,
    • A2 Ebbsfleet junction upgrade,
    • Increased high speed rail services to Ebbsfleet
    • Crossrail extension from Abbey Wood to Dartford, Ebbsfleet and Gravesend.

    Whilst we support improvements to public transport to serve the development in the Thames Gateway and believe that travel by road should be constrained to limit the impact of the development on the strategic road network we would object to expansion of High Speed Rail Services to Ebbsfleet at the expense of those to Ashford.

  • A new Lower Thames Crossing;
    The existing Dartford Crossing is the shortest freight route between Kent and the major distribution centres in the Midlands and the North. However, the capacity is overloaded for large periods of the day and it is extremely vulnerable to incidents – over 300 times a year the Crossing is fully or partially closed. Due to congestion and delays, it affects productivity and constrains economic growth. We are clear that a new Lower Thames Crossing, to the east of Gravesend, is required to unlock growth, improve journey time reliability, improve network resilience, and enable opportunities for regeneration. In the 2016 consultation, our response was adamant that the Western Southern Link should be chosen and that with careful route alignment and tunnelling, the environmental and heritage impacts could be substantially minimised. As part of the project to deliver the new Lower Thames Crossing the A229 between M2 Junction 3 and M20 Junction 6 should be upgraded (what has previously been called Option C ‘variant’) along with improvements to the A249 as another link between the two motorways and the upgrades identified for ‘bifurcation of port traffic’ set out in the next section.
    Strongly agree
  • Bifurcation of port traffic;
    It is vital to the UK economy that the Channel Corridor operates efficiently at all times and is resilient to incidents on the network. Port traffic is currently routed along the M20/A20, which results in severance between Dover town centre and the harbour. With the construction of a new Lower Thames Crossing, a second strategic route will be available between Dover and the Midlands and North. The project to revive the Dover Western Docks plus expansion of the existing Port would naturally split traffic so that for the Western Docks and Channel Tunnel would use the M20/A20, and traffic for the Eastern Docks would be encouraged to use the M2/A2.
    Bifurcation will also facilitate growth of Whitfield, Folkestone, Ashford and Maidstone by releasing capacity on the M20.
    To deliver bifurcation, the following upgrades are required:

    • M2 Junction 7 (Brenley Corner) improvements to improve capacity and provide free-flow between the M2 and A2.
    • Dualling sections of single carriageway on the A2 north of Dover along Jubilee Way to Whitfield and near Lydden.
    • M20 Junction 7 improvements to provide ease of access between the A249 and M20.
    • M2 Junction 5 Stockbury improvements to provide free-flow between the M2 and A249.

    Strongly agree

  • Port Expansion
    The Government’s Port Policy Review Interim Report forecast a 101% increase in roll on – roll off ferry traffic by 2030 (HGVs and LGVs driving on and off ferries). To accommodate this growth, constraints in the south east’s capacity for short-sea routes to the Continent have to be overcome. Dover Harbour Board’s master planning has shown that the existing Eastern Docks would not provide sufficient capacity and therefore the Port plan to redevelop the Western Docks.
    The Western Docks will provide a cargo terminal with a port-centric distribution centre, allowing the existing cargo operations to move out of the Eastern Docks so that capacity within the existing dedicated ferry terminal can be increased. The redevelopment would also kick-start the regeneration of Dover town, attracting investment, creating jobs and improving the appearance of the Waterfront. The scheme will remodel the Prince of Wales and York Street roundabouts on the A20.
    Strongly agree
    Whilst we agree with the need to accommodate traffic growth at the Port of Dover we consider that more research and investment should be provided into expansion of rail freight through the Channel Tunnel and the County to minimise the need for increased road capacity. Use of road pricing for HGV vehicles should be investigated as a means to balance the economic advantages of road use over rail. This should be accompanied by a reduction in Vehicle Tax for HGVs to offset the cost increase for UK operators.
  • A solution to Operation Stack;
    When there is disruption at the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel, Operation Stack may be implemented and sections of the M20 closed to hold lorries. The impacts are estimated to cost the Kent and Medway economy over £1.5m per day, with the wider costs to the UK economy being much greater. When the motorway traffic is rerouted onto M2, A20 and the local road network it has detrimental impacts on the communities along these routes. The use of Operation Stack creates a negative perception of Kent as a place to do business.
    We are working with Highways England who is leading on the delivery of a Lorry Area that will reduce the need to use the M20 to queue freight vehicles during times of disruption to cross-Channel services. In addition to this work, we will lobby for more freight to be transported by rail although we acknowledge that limited train paths for rail freight and the economics of transporting goods by roads limits the scope for significant modal shift.
    Strongly agree
    We agree that Operation Stack must be addressed urgently to stop the impact, not only on the strategic road network but also on the local roads that are used as diversion routes during Operation Stack and its the economic consequences. Work must be continued beyond the current proposal which is acknowledged by Highways England to provide capacity for only half of the potential current requirement. Research and investment must be provided into the use of technology, to control entry of freight vehicles into the county, a national strategy to address lorry parking and development of rail freight to reduce the potential increase in HGV traffic.
  • Provision for overnight lorry parking;
    Kent has a high demand for lorry parking spaces because of its connectivity to continental Europe attracting high volumes of cross-Channel freight. We are developing a strategy for a network of small lorry parks at suitable locations across Kent and a partnership approach with the Districts and the Police to address enforcement. The proposed Operation Stack Lorry Area adjacent to the M20 at Stanford should be integrated with this overall strategy. This strategy should also include improved management of freight traffic through Kent utilising technology to direct HGVs to parking sites and available cross Channel services, i.e. ‘ticketing’ flexibility between Eurotunnel and ferry operators to ensure optimum fluidity of freight movement.
    Combined with a multi-agency approach to enforcement, the provision of additional lorry parking capacity will reduce antisocial behaviour on the public highway, including littering. This will also reduce unsafe lorry parking, such as vehicles overhanging laybys, and so improve road safety.
    Strongly agree
    KCC must push for its strategy for HGV parking to be extended throughout the South East and beyond, to allow management of HGV movement into the County at times of excess traffic flow.
  • Ashford International Station signalling.
    Ashford International Station is linked to High Speed 1 by two sections of railway known as the Ashford Spurs. The signalling on these spurs needs to be upgraded to permit the operation of the new Eurostar Class e320 trains into Ashford International Station. We, working in partnership with Ashford Borough Council, have led a working group with all concerned stakeholders to fund, procure and deliver an upgrade to the signalling system. The delivery of the upgraded signalling system by Network Rail will enable Ashford to continue to operate as an international station, serving the new fleet of Class e320 Eurostar trains, as well as any future international rail operators such as Deutsche Bahn.
    Strongly agree
  • Thanet Parkway Railway Station;
    The districts of Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet together form East Kent. The area suffers from increased deprivation when compared with West Kent, and the wider South East. Poor accessibility has discouraged major employers from locating in the area, and prevents regeneration. We are seeking to deliver a new railway station to significantly improve rail connectivity to the area.
    The station will provide access to greater employment opportunities for local residents, increase the attractiveness for investment in Discovery Park Enterprise Zone and numerous surrounding business parks in Thanet, and support local housing growth including Stone Hill Park on the former Manston Airport site if this is granted planning permission. The estimated journey time from Thanet Parkway to London St Pancras will be just over 20 minutes shorter than that from Deal to London St Pancras, therefore a new station enhances the accessibility of the wider area of East Kent.Rail connectivity between London, Ashford and Thanet will be improved by delivery of the Journey Time Improvement (JTI) scheme. This aims to reduce the journey time between Ashford and Ramsgate. The first phase, between Ashford and Canterbury West, is due for completion by May 2017; the second phase, between Canterbury West and Ramsgate, is due for completion by 2019/20.
    Neither agree nor disagree
  • Rail and Bus Improvements
    We need a public transport system that is integrated, affordable, and therefore an attractive option for our residents. One barrier for many people is the cost of commuting by train, which can prevent people from being able to access employment, particularly in London. This is known as the ‘rail price penalty’ and we will work with Government and the rail franchisee to identify options to reduce this. We have made good progress on promoting improvements to rail passenger services through the Rail Action Plan for Kent, and this has led to KCC being recognised as a voice of authority on rail matters for the South East. We will now work to influence the new South Eastern rail franchise (2018) as well as continuing to run annual Rail Summits to stand up for Kent’s passengers. We support the proposal for an extension of Crossrail 1 from Abbey Wood to Dartford, Ebbsfleet and Gravesend ensuring the delivery of additional rail capacity for the planned Ebbsfleet Garden City, London Paramount and Thames Gateway area.
    We actively support seven Quality Bus Partnerships (QBP) and Punctuality Improvement Partnerships (PIP), and we are progressing with the roll-out of smart ticketing to provide seamless travel between operators. The successful Fastrack bus service in Kent Thameside will be developed as growth occurs, and it is exemplary of a high quality bus service. We have to take a pragmatic approach to funding commercially unviable bus services and will seek to support other means of provision that can achieve the same aims, such as community bus services. However, we welcome the potential for KCC to have bus franchising powers to enhance services and create an integrated public transport network.
    Strongly agree
    We support the improvement of rail and bus passenger services. More should be done to integrate rail and bus services through combined ticketing, integrated timetables, shared passenger information systems and promotion and development of the Kent Connected website. We also believe that the rail freight should be included in the plan and research and investment into making more freight paths available on the rail network in Kent and beyond and improving the economic viability of rail freight compared with road.

Kent-Wide Priorities

Q6. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the Kent-Wide Priorities for the Local Transport Plan? (Pages 22 to 23 in the LTP)

  • Road Safety
    Under the Road Traffic Act 1989, KCC has a duty to promote road safety and act to reduce the likelihood of road casualties occurring. We also have a moral and financial imperative to do this. Our target is to reduce the number of killed and seriously injured (KSI) by 33% and child KSI by 40% (2014 to 2020). One means of addressing this is through the Crash Remedial Measures (CRM) Programme which targets safety critical schemes. These are locations where there is a statistically higher than expected number of KSI casualties. At least 50% of the Integrated Transport block funding is top sliced for CRM schemes, for which the programme can be found in annexe 3 to this LTP4. Therefore, at least 50% of transport scheme funding is prioritised for Outcome 3: Safer travel.
    In addition to this, we carry out a number of educational and enforcement activities, including working with partners in the Safer Roads Partnership. More information on this can be found in the Road Casualty Reduction Strategy. Further, through the highway maintenance programme every road and footway in the county is inspected and repairs carried out where necessary.
    Strongly agree
  • Highway Maintenance and Asset Management
    One of KCC’s primary roles is to maintain the structural integrity of the public highway, which includes targeting potholes for repair, both to ensure safe travel and prolong the life of assets. The Department for Transport (DfT) allocates Highway Maintenance Block funding based on the size of our roads, bridges, and street lighting assets as a proportion of the total asset size in England. From 2018/19 the cycleway and footway network will also be included in the calculation. To make the best use of this, and to support bids for additional central Government funding, we will implement the asset management approach advocated by the Highway Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) .
    Strongly agree
    KCC Highways needs to review the method of assessment as to what constitutes road surface deterioration that warrants repair. Whilst we acknowledge the clarity that a dimensional approach to assessing damage brings, we consider that damage that falls outside of the dimensional definition can create unacceptable increase in risk of an accident.
  • Home to School Transport
    High quality education is a priority, and where transport to school is a barrier we aim to get pupils to school safely and on time. This can take the form of advice or the provision of free or subsidised transport where the child is eligible under Section 509 of the Education Act 1996. The criteria for free transport can be found in the Home to School Transport Policy. We also offer the Young Person’s Travel Pass and this has been instrumental in encouraging school journeys to be made by bus.
    Strongly agree
    The Council should promote selection of local schools and active travel solutions for journeys to and from school.
  • Active Travel
    We aim to make active travel an attractive and realistic choice for short journeys in Kent. Active travel means walking or cycling as a means of transport rather than for leisure purposes, and it can benefit health and wellbeing by incorporating physical activity into everyday routine as well as reduce the number of vehicles on the road and improve air quality. By integrating active travel into planning, providing and maintaining appropriate routes for walking and cycling, and supporting people through training and building skills, we plan to establish Kent as a pioneering county for active travel. More information can be found in the Active Travel Strategy.
    Strongly agree
  • Aviation
    ‘Facing the Aviation Challenge’ clearly sets out our position on aviation. This centres on maximising use of existing regional airport capacity, along with some expansion of existing airports and improved rail connections. At the present time, no viable business proposition for aviation at Manston Airport has come forward but Lydd Airport plans to extend its runway and expand its terminal.
    We are clear that processes are needed to properly measure, minimise and mitigate the noise impacts of existing airport operations and airport expansion. We, along with Medway Council, are robustly opposed to the proposals for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary. We are also opposed to a second runway at Gatwick; one of the reasons for this is the doubling of the already unacceptable noise impacts. There needs to be an immediate reduction in overflight and noise in West Kent and so we oppose proposed airspace changes that would not share the burden of overflight equitably between communities. Multiple arrival and departure routes should be used to provide periods of respite. Additionally, the level of night flights should be reduced at Gatwick to a level comparable with Heathrow.
    As part of our view on long-term aviation capacity issues, we are pressing Government for immediate action to keep UK airports competitive with European airports in terms of Air Passenger Duty (APD). This currently has a negative impact on the UK’s global connectivity and is therefore damaging UK business and tourism. Differential charging of APD at uncongested airports could also help to stimulate growth at regional airports and free up capacity at congested airports.

Strongly agree

Q6a. Please add any comments on the Kent-Wide Priorities for the Local Transport Plan below:

District Priorities

Q7. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the District Priorities [for Ashford] for the Local Transport Plan? (Pages 41 to 42 in the LTP)

Travel in Ashford is currently dominated by the private car, but the area is largely flat which makes travel on foot or by bicycle easy and feasible. The M20 runs through the district and bisects the town, connecting the area with the Channel Ports to the south and Maidstone and London to the north. Generally, the M20 operates with spare capacity but when Operation Stack is called the town is heavily congested as all motorway traffic is diverted via Junction 9 through the town. Further, the capacity of Junction 10 is restricting development to the south of the Ashford urban area, as both strategic and local traffic place high demand on this junction. A preferred route for a new motorway Junction 10a has been identified and Highways England is currently progressing towards the submission of a Development Consent Order (the approvals process for major infrastructure) to Government in 2016. Ashford is a growing town and development pressures on the transport network must be considered.

Ashford is historically a railway town and consequently it has rail connections to Maidstone, Canterbury, Tonbridge, Folkestone and Hastings, as well as internationally via the Channel Tunnel. The bus network includes urban, inter-urban and rural services; and Stagecoach is the main bus operator in East Kent.

The A28 Chart Road improvement scheme is critical to the delivery of 5,750 homes at Chilmington Green and the reduction in congestion along this route is a priority scheme for both Ashford Borough Council (ABC) and KCC. ABC also plans to promote Ashford as a Cycling Town. The delivery of an improving cycle network and the doubling of cycle parking at Ashford International Station in 2015 (as well as its 2010 Station of the Year award in the National Cycle Rail Awards) provide opportunities to capitalise on the use of this mode of transport.

  • Ashford International rail connectivity (Ashford Spurs)
    Refer to item in Strategic Priorities
    Strongly agree
  • M20 Junction 10a
    Highways England are proposing a new M20 junction 10A and link road to the A2070 at Ashford in Kent with a new dual carriageway link road to the existing A2070 Southern Orbital Road (Bad Munstereifel Road) and also connect to the A20 Hythe Road.
    More information can be found on the Highways England Project Page
    Strongly agree
  • A28 Chart Road
    A proposal to change the A28 between the ‘Tank’ and ‘Matalan’ roundabouts into 2 lanes each way including:

    • changing the A28 into 2 lanes each way between the ‘Tank’ and ‘Matalan’ roundabouts
    • improvement of the ‘Tank’ roundabout, ‘Matalan’ roundabout, Loudon Way junction and other intermediate side roads/accesses
    • using the existing railway bridge for the northbound carriageway with construction of a new railway bridge to carry the southbound carriageway
    • extensive landscaping proposals
    • traffic noise screening for adjacent residents
    • provision of continuous shared footway/cycleways on both sides of the road
    • additional controlled crossings, for pedestrians and cyclists, at Loudon Way/Chart Road junction and Chart Road north of Matalan roundabout.

    More information can be found on the KCC project page
    Strongly agree

  • Ashford town centre project – including Ashford Station access and junction improvement – Station Approach/Elwick Road and Victoria Way. Strongly agree
    The improvement of traffic flow through the town, particularly in Station Road/Wellesley Road is needed, otherwise any improvements to these junctions is unlikely to be effective. This should include improved synchronisation of traffic signals throughout the town.
  • Pound Lane Strategic Link (Kingsnorth).
    A link to connect proposed development to the south and west of Kingsnorth to the Romney Marsh Road at the Park Farm roundabout
    The consultants report can be downloaded from ABC’s Local Plan Evidence base page  Agree
  • Bus service improvement – bus provision, capacity and frequency, including between major growth points and town centre. Strongly agree
  • Implementation of Ashford Cycling Strategy
    We list below the key targets of Ashford Cycling Strategy. The fully strategy can be downloaded from the KCC cycling strategies page.

    1. To continue to follow the above documents in developing new cycle paths and routes
    2. To share this guidance with developers, to ensure a consistent high standard of cycle routes in Ashford
    3. To plan and construct a comprehensive cycle network in Ashford
    4. Continue to work with local developers to help extend Ashford’s Cycle Network
    5. To encourage further cycle parking with local businesses in Ashford
    6. To continue to provide Sheffield Stands in Ashford
    7. To propose an Indoor Secure Cycle Parking Facility
    8. To integrate the Cycling Strategy with Ashford’s Public Transport Services
    9. To help local schools increase the numbers of pupils, staff and parents switch to cycling to travel to and from school
    10. To provide details of how the public transport network interlinks with Ashford’s cycling and walking networks via improving Ashford’s Cycle Map
    11. Ensure all future cycling/shared routes also serve local schools where possible
    12. To promote the health benefits of cycling via projects with local businesses and schools
    13. To work with the local Primary Care Trust to produce calorie maps for cycling and walking routes in Ashford
    14. To promote the benefits of active commuting to school and work
    15. To promote an annual cycling event for all abilities and ages
    16. Integrate the Cycling Strategy with Ashford’s Public Transport Services
    17. To help local schools increase the numbers of pupils, staff and parents switch to cycling to travel to and from school
    18. To provide details of how the public transport network interlinks with Ashford’scycling and walking networks via improving Ashford’s Cycle Map
    19. Continue to work with local developers to help extend Ashford’s Cycle Network
    20. To produce an interactive cycle map for Ashford, located in the Town Centre, in partnership with Ashford Borough Council and Ashford Town Centre Management
    21. To continue to monitor the number of cycle trips being undertaken
    22. To monitor the number of cycle trips both before and after new cycle tracks are constructed at key designated sites

    Strongly agree

  • Improvements to the former ring road
    Complete works to the Somerset Road, Wellesley Road and Station Road section of the old ring road to endorse the principles of what was completed on Elwick Road, West Street/Forge Lane. This project would be led by Ashford BC  Agree
    We support the improvement of pedestrian facilities on the remaining sections of the ring road, this must be achieved without impeding traffic flow into, from and through the town
  • Orbital Park roundabout upgrade.
    Transport modelling shows that Orbital Park roundabout will need to be upgraded within the local plan period, although responsibility falls to Highways England as this is part of the Strategic Road Network (SRN)
    Strongly agree
  • Park Farm Rail Halt feasibility assessment. Strongly agree

 Q7a. Please add any comments on the District Priorities [for Ashford] for the Local Transport Plan

Final comments on the Local Transport Plan below:

Q10. Please add any final comments you have on the Local Transport Plan below:

Although Outcome 4: ‘Enhanced environment and Outcome’ 5: ‘Better health and wellbeing’ can be achieved by reduction in car usage and use of low emission road vehicles, there should be reference to these as priorities.

Specific measures to achieve these objectives would include:

  • management of parking and road infrastructure in new developments to create pinch points to increase car journey times
  • encouragement to the creation of car clubs and car sharing schemes
  • provision of electric charging points in car parks and for dwellings and communal car parks in new developments (users of public charging points should pay for use at a viable rate).