By Paul Boughen, Community Building Manager, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation
The A2 is set to get a huge upgrade after Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, the organisation creating Ebbsfleet Garden City, announced it is to invest £45million to improve the road guarantee delivery of the vital project for North Kent.
The development corporation said it will be used to fund major improvements at the Bean and Ebbsfleet junctions and the investment ensures work will finally start in 2019, years after it was first talked about.
The corporation’s £45m towards the £125m overall cost will see an additional bridge over the A2, providing a new slip road onto the A2, and enlarging the roundabout at Bean, while at Ebbsfleet both roundabouts are set to be enlarged and traffic lights will be installed.
The investment will be recovered through developer contributions which house builders have to pay as the Garden City progresses.
Paul Spooner, Interim Chief Executive of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, said: “This is a major commitment by us to ensure the A2 continues to move. With up to 15,000 new homes in Ebbsfleet Garden City, we are well aware the strain that could place on local traffic, particularly at these two junctions, and this money enables that work to now go-ahead.
“Through our extensive work with new and existing communities we know traffic is a concern. With these improvements and a commitment from us to improve public transport in the area with a new upgraded Fastrack service, we are helping address those concerns and ensure traffic continues to flow as we see 5,100 homes completed here by 2021.”
Developers have welcomed the move by the corporation. Chris Lilley, managing director of Redrow Homes (South East), which is building 950 homes at Ebbsfleet Green, said: “Among the many reasons homebuyers are drawn to Ebbsfleet is the location, offering fantastic commuter connections by rail at Ebbsfleet International. This forward investment into the A2 will provide various improvements all geared towards alleviating what is a very busy route and it’s a major commitment to ensuring local residents can enjoy better travel by road as well as rail as the Garden City develops.”
Iain McPherson, Managing Director of Countryside New Homes & Communities South, which is developing 800 homes at Springhead Park, said: “Infrastructure plays a vital role in the development of the Garden City and the guaranteed funding from the corporation means much needed improvements can go ahead.”
Last month the corporation announced a £30m deal which will provide electricity to the Garden City and speed up housing delivery.
In a separate development, Ebbsfleet Garden City’s first new primary school has opened at Castle Hill. Cherry Orchard welcomed its first pupils at the start of the new term. Eventually it will have 420 pupils. There is also a nursery and a community centre on the site.