Town Centre Red Route proposal moves forward

Traffic through Maidstone’s one-way system should flow more smoothly, improving air quality along the Bishops Way and Stone Street corridor, following a proposal made by the Lib Dems at Maidstone’s Strategic Planning and Infrastructure committee at the Town Hall this week. 

Cllr Brian Clark made the proposal to work with KCC to consider implementation of a Red Route along the length of the corridor to keep traffic flowing. Currently, any obstruction, caused by illegal parking or waiting, forces traffic to slow down or stop, grinding the network to a halt causing pollution to spike. When parked or loading vehicles wait with their engines running air quality is even more severely impacted. 


The Red Route will prevent parking or waiting along the route between 7am and 7pm increasing safety at a point where many school children cross for buses.


Separately Cllr Clive English proposed that the Maidstone Borough Council, a major landowner along the route, investigate the potential for targeted planting of trees in Upper Stone Street to bring about a long-term benefit to air quality in the area. Beyond these proposals the head of Planning, Rob Jarman agreed to investigate further the “Canyon Effect” on air quality along routes with taller buildings, as part of the local plan review.


Cllr Clark commented, “While a red route had been dismissed leading up to the meeting, my colleagues and I felt on balance that it was the most beneficial and practical option to progress, it was great to see committee members across parties agreed. While this will improve air quality it will also bring a reduction in congestion and improvement in road safety at a points where pedestrians cross.”


Cllr English Followed, “We have significant constraints on the road network at this point which have led to poor air quality and longer term solutions must still be explored. This red route proposal combined with careful planting in adjacent land owned by MBC is achievable in the short term and would bring a great benefit to users of the corridor. 



Final Recommendation: 

This report makes the following recommendations to this Committee: 


  1. The Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee note the findings of the report.
  2. The Director of Regeneration and Place assess the level of support from Kent County Council to implement scenario 1 [Red Route – no stopping on Palace Avenue, Lower Stone Street and Upper Stone Street between 7am and 7pm]
  3. A report be submitted to the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee, outlining the outcome of discussions with Kent County Council, by January 2020.
  4. That this committee instruct Director of Regeneration and Place to explore mitigating the air quality impact in Upper Stone Street through selective planting.