"The junction between the M2, A2 and A299 at Brenley Corner near Faversham — largely unchanged since its opening in 1963 — has become a troublesome bottleneck for local and long-distance traffic as the number of vehicles using it every day has far surpassed its original design capacity.
The proposal by Highways England to upgrade the Brenley Corner junction is therefore welcome and presents an opportunity not only to improve the flow of traffic but also to address some of the flaws that make the existing junction an intimidating obstacle for pedestrians and cyclists travelling between Faversham and Canterbury along one of the most ancient and historic routes in the country: Roman Watling Street. The combination of the M2, A2, A299 and Brenley Corner junction also constitute a formidable barrier for the movement of wildlife between the coastal marshes to the north, the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the south, and the Ancient Woodland of the Blean to the east.
The Faversham Society believes that any initiative to improve Brenley Corner for road traffic must cater for cyclists, pedestrians and wildlife at the same time. Two public rights of way currently cross the A299 within a mile of Brenley Corner. The volume of traffic now using the dual carriageway means that pedestrians avoid the footpaths in question. Crossing for older people, children or with a pushchair would be irresponsible. Bridges are essential that could also provide alternative routes for cyclists and incorporate wildlife overpasses to help create the sort of green corridor promised by Swale Borough Council in its draft Local Plan.
Whatever the new configuration of the Brenley Corner junction and associated crossings, the project has to do with national infrastructure — vital in particular for vehicular traffic to and from the Channel ports — and must therefore be funded under Highways England's national budget. The need for an upgrade predates the anticipated expansion of housing in and around Faversham. Under no circumstances should local funding be used to upgrade a junction whose congestion is caused, above all, by non-local traffic. Section 106 funds associated with new housing developments around Faversham must be earmarked for initiatives to help the town adapt to the significant growth in its population, not to subsidise a national infrastructure project.
Formed in 1962, the Faversham Society is a Registered Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee working to preserve the heritage and fabric of the historic town of Faversham and its surrounding parishes."
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