Bypass threat to countryside.
[I think this article was published in The Kent and Sussex Courier in 1992]
If the route preferred by the Department of Transport is taken for the new link between the Pembury and Tonbridge bypasses, the countryside would be ruined according to Southborough Town Council.
Three routes which would connect the bypasses were originally proposed by the Department and a combination of two, known as the red and orange routes, were favoured by the Borough Council. It is that option which the town council also prefers but the Department wants the Blue route.
Borough council officers say that the Blue route requires, at its widest point, a 240 metre cutting with steep embankments through Castle Hill ridge and the construction of an embankment across two ghylls, taking the road to the junction with Longfield Road.
A flyover junction would be created at the end of Longfield Road to ease one of the worst bottlenecks in Kent but the existing junction at Vauxhall Lane, Tonbridge, would remain in its present form.
Speaking at Monday’s town council planning committee, Councillor Richard Blackmore said: ” the Blue route would be far too intrusive.”
He added that “wonderful countryside” would be ruined. “One of the reasons the Sabbath our Society came into existence was to protect that valley and this will be one of the worst scars you will see”, he said.
Chairman Councillor Stewart drove questioned the need for three lanes in each direction. “I just can’t see the sense in it, especially when, at best, the rest of the road is to Lane,” he said.
Councillor Blackwell said the new link would do little to stop congestion but would instead drawl traffic in. “The problems we have now will just be shalt further down the road to places like Lamberhurst,” he said.
Councillor Mike Hancock said that the orange and red routes were the best but added: “whatever they decide to build it will mean more traffic coming through suspension while it is constructed.”
“There were loads of people crying out for a bypass in other parts of the county,” said Councillor Blackwell. “It is just typical that here we have one that we don’t even want,” he said.
“I have not spoken to anybody in Southborough or High Brooms who is in favour of this bypass. All it will do is get commuters to work five minutes earlier”