Kent County Council (KCC) have release their 3rd Local Transport Plan (LTP) for consultation. This LTP defines the main policies and objectives that KCC will follow in the period from 2011 to 2016. The document is 138 pages long and can be found here.
This document is open to consultation until 31st December 2010 - details for returning correspondence here.
TLC have summarised the main points affecting the travelling public in Tonbridge, Hildenborough, and Paddock Wood below with reference to the sections of the LTP that these policies are stated. We hope you find the 3 pages of summarised LTP more digestible than the full 138 pages!
The LTP consists primarily of 5 areas. The proposed percentage of total funding for each of the areas indicated below (from section 4.24)
Chapter 1. Why Transport is Important to Kent
Section 1.8 - size of network: Kent has one of the longest highway networks in the country - for example KCC maintains over 5,000 miles of roads and 4,000 miles of pavements, as well as 4,200 miles of public rights of way. KCC are directly responsible for 2,700 bridges, 110,000 streetlights, 130,000 traffic signs and 400 miles of cycle routes.
Section 1.13 - Responsibility for roads: KCC are not responsible for the maintenance of motorways and trunk roads. This is the responsibility of the Highways Agency. NB. This means that the A21 is the responsibility of the Highways Agency but the A26 and A228 is the responsibility of KCC. (see section 1.18)
Section 1.14 - responsibility for rail network: KCC are not responsible for train services in the county. This is the responsibility of South Eastern, Network Rail, and the Department for Transport.
Section 1.15 - responsibility for bus network: KCC procure only 20% of the available bus services in the county. The bulk of the remaining 80% of bus services are provided commercially by Arriva in West Kent and Stagecoach in East Kent
Section 1.22 to 1.26 - Domestic Rail: KCC seems content with the service provided by South Eastern although they are lobbying for improved services to Maidstone
Section 1.28 - bus patronage increases: KCC has worked hard with private bus operators to increase bus patronage in the county from 38.3 in the year 2000/1 to 58.8 in 2009/10 - growth of some 65%
Chapter 2. Transport Related Problems
Section 2.6 - deprived areas: West Kent is the least deprived areas in Kent. Thanet, Gravesham, Swale, and Shepway are the poorest parts of the county.
Section 2.9 - work to home commuting patterns: 13.5% of the workforce who live in Kent commute to London (98,000 people). 82.9% of the workforce who live in Kent also work in Kent (603,000 people)
Section 2.18 - road safety: Roads are becoming safer in Kent. However there were 61 people killed on Kent's roads in 2009 and 568 serious injuries (see Executive summary of this document)
Chapter 3. Existing Plans and Strategies
Section 3.7 - New housing: The South East Plan proposed the development of some 120,000 new homes in Kent between 2006 and 2026. This growth is to be concentrated in two sub-regions:
· East Kent and Ashford: 56,700 homes
· Thames Gateway Kent: 52,140 homes
Sections 3.43 to 3.54 - New dwellings in each area 2006 to 2021 or 2026: The number of new homes to be built in each borough council in Kent is given below:
Section 4.26 - Priorities: spending will be prioritised in the Growth Areas and Growth Points (Thames Gateway Kent, Ashford, Dover and Maidstone)
Chapter 5 - The Strategy for Growth Without Gridlock
Section 5.4 - Apparent bias to High Speed 1. KCC seem to be biased towards the benefits of high speed 1 and tend not to highlight the negative points for this. This is highlighted in this sectionwhere KCC claim that HS1 has reduced travel time from London to Ashford from 84 minutes to 37 minutes. A quick check of the 2009 time-table shows that the fastest hourly train from London Waterloo East to Ashford took only 56 minutes (today that quickest journey is 72 minutes!).
Section 5.12 - rail services from Gatwick to Tonbridge: KCC strongly support the idea of an Ashford to Gatwick Airport route
Section 5.49 - Maidstone to Cannon Street: KCC strongly support the reintroduction of the Maidstone to Cannon Street services
Section 5.50 - Connect Maidstone to HS1: KCC will also seek to progress the proposed Maidstone Parkway station and the extension of Southeastern High Speed shuttle services from Ebbsfleet to Maidstone West via the Medway Valley line,
Section 5.59 - Intelligent Transportation Systems: Only vague details of what ITS systems are proposed. This is a pity as the county could benefit from many of these tehcnoligeis such as real time bus arrival information and car park spaces on the internet and mobile phone.
Section 5.64 - new Thames Crossing. KCC support a new lower Thames crossing. However this appears only to be a road bridge with no mention of adding a rail crossing too.
Section 7.8 - bus subsidies: In 2009/10, revenue support for additional bus services was provided by a combination of KCC funding (£5.3 million) and the Department for Transport (DfT)'s Rural Bus Subsidy Grant (£2.2 million). This works out at a subsidy of around GBP5.30 for each of Kent's 1.4 million residents. (NB. compare this to a subsidy of around GBP70 per person in London).
Section 8.13 - Cycle Lanes: KCC do support a comprehensive cycle network. Priority will be given to providing a comprehensive urban cycle network that enables people to cycle continuously to schools, employment centres and leisure opportunities.
Section 9.16 - Smartcard: KCC plan to introduce a smartcard for use by Freedom Pass holders. This will also be usable in other KCC locations such as libraries
Section 12.19 - Kent Rail Summits: bi-annual Kent Rail Summits to raise the profile of these issues. The Summits bring together representatives of Southeastern, Network Rail, Passenger Focus and local rail user groups.