Issue details

21/00046 - A229 Bluebell Hill Improvement Scheme

The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transportation is requested to give approval to:

i) the feasibility design options for A229 Blue Bell Hill Improvement Scheme to be developed and further explored to establish a preferred option which best meets the objectives for the scheme;

ii) to progress the preferred option through the next stages of development and delivery including any ancillary works such as drainage and environmental mitigation;

iii) to submit a planning application/development consent order for the scheme, following completion of the outline design process and public consultation;

iv) take all steps necessary to obtain and implement all Statutory Orders and approvals or consents required for the schemes;

v) all acts required to acquire the land and rights for the carrying out and completion of the A229 Blue Bell Hill Improvement Scheme, including by means of a compulsory purchase order;

vi) to enter into Agreements to allow the County Council to design and deliver a scheme on Highways England and Network Rail (High Speed 1) infrastructure;

vii) to enter into Large Local Majors funding, developer funding and other such funding Agreements subject to the approval of the Corporate Director for Finance;

viii) to enter into construction contracts as necessary for the delivery of the scheme, subject to the approval of Strategic Commissioning;

(ix)   the Corporate Director of Growth, Environment & Transport, under the Officer Scheme of Delegations, to take further or other decisions as may be appropriate to deliver the A229 Blue Bell Hill Improvement Scheme in accordance with these recommendations..

 

Background

The A229 Blue Bell Hill is a strategically important link providing the shortest route between the M2 and M20 and connecting both the County town of Maidstone and the conurbation of Medway.

The scheme is needed to provide improvements to the junctions at either end of Blue Bell Hill, A229/M2 J3 and A229/M20 J6, as well as the length of Blue Bell Hill itself, to provide safer and more reliable journeys for strategic traffic, including following the opening of the Lower Thames Crossing, and additional capacity to support local growth.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded)

Two options are currently being progressed (options 1 and 2 from the public consultation) and will be further developed to establish a preferred option which best meets the objectives of the scheme. A third option was presented at public consultation but has since been dropped as a result of further design work which showed unacceptable impacts on the M20 and surrounding area.

 

How the proposed decision meets the challenges in the Interim Strategic Plan

 

·         Economic Challenge - Bring forward infrastructure to stimulate economic growth

The project brings central government funding into the county to invest in infrastructure, supporting the construction industry and supply chain and providing an opportunity for green infrastructure.

·         Demand Challenge - Understand and meet long-term demand for transport

The project considers the use of active travel, providing facilities and routes for walking and cycling and provides additional capacity to accommodate future growth.

·         Demand Challenge - Invest in effective prevention

The project provides opportunities for asset upgrades and maintenance as part of the scheme, provides improved quality assets and aims to minimise future maintenance liabilities.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: For Determination

Division affected: Maidstone North East; Maidstone Rural North; Malling North East;

Notice of proposed decision first published: 07/06/2021

Decision due: Not before 6th Jul 2021 by Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Reason: to enable to decision to be on the FED for 28 days

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Lead director: Simon Jones

Department: Growth, Environment & Transport

Contact: Victoria Soames Email: a229bluebellhill@kent.gov.uk Email: victoria.soames@kent.gov.uk.

Consultees

A public consultation was undertaken in Autumn 2020. A report summarising the consultation is available at www.kent.gov.uk/a229bluebellhill

 

Further consultations are planned once further scheme development work has been undertaken.

 

Cabinet Committee consultation planned:  Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee 29 June 2021

 

Financial implications: The maximum total cost is currently £199m (based on the current development stage of the project – Strategic Outline Business Case). It should be noted that this project is currently within the existing budget book (Row 60 Page 57 section 5 – Capital Investment Plans) at £99m based on the Pre-strategic Outline Business Case costing. The project has been put forward to the Department for Transport funding from their Large Local Majors programme which would contribute 85% of the project costs. The remainder of the funding shall be sought from developer contributions and other external funding. KCC is currently forward funding £1.6m from its feasibility reserve capital line for the development cost of the scheme and this will be reimbursed through developer contributions and other external funding should the DfT funding be secured and the scheme progress.

Legal implications: Invicta Law are providing support.

Equalities implications: • Equalities implications - An Equality Impact Assessment has been completed (Version 1dated 09 September 2020). - Further updates to the EqIA will be carried out during the development of project. • Data Protection implications - DPIA is not required for the scheme as a whole. - Some survey work may require DPIA (for example traffic surveys)