River bank slippage

There has been a river bank slippage next to the Medway in the Forstall Road area of Aylesford.

Lib Dem County Councillor Ian Chittenden commented, “The actual slip site is at the western end of the industrial site at Forstal Road but as of now the closure will be for the whole length from Aylesford car park to MR473a/KH45, the footpath that links from the towpath to Forstal Road at Lipscomb Volvo. I am pleased that following restrictions and limits placed on investigation work, this can now go ahead and officers have placed a detailed notice at each end of the closure”

This path is closed due to a severe landslip and failure of the river retaining wall. Regrettably, we were unable to maintain the barriers at the slip site in a safe condition as some users went to extreme lengths to remove them.

The path will remain closed until it is safe to re-open and the possible timescale is as follows:

  • Site investigation and design work (delayed from March by the Covid19 outbreak) started on 8th June and may take between 4 and 8 weeks to complete.
  •  Once a design for the repairs has been completed (we are expecting to have to sheet pile approximately 100m of retaining wall from a barge and then re-construct a large section of the path) consents will be sought from the Environment Agency and for any protected species that may be present. This may take between 2 and 12 weeks.
  •  Once consents have been granted, we will need to appoint a contractor – normal procurement rules would require this to be by competitive tender which could take 6 to 8 weeks unless we can get a dispensation to appoint direct without tender.
  •  Once a contractor is appointed they will have to programme in the work – at this stage, it is a complete unknown how long this could be.
  •  The work itself will then need to be undertaken and could possibly take around 12 weeks.
  •  Funding for the work needs to be secured. A large proportion of the West Kent Public Rights of Way budget has been set aside for this work, and other sources of funding are being looked at but there is a possibility that the work may have to be spread over two financial years.
  •  There is a very slim chance that the work could be completed by late Autumn but a more realistic estimate would be Spring/Summer 2021.
  •  When work at the slip site commences and that part of the path can be made secure, we would hope to re-open the cul-de-sacs on both sides but regrettably, if users tried to use it as a through route during the works we would have to reinstate the full closure.