Darnley Arch & Traffic Chaos

How to engineer a 6 week traffic jam

Step 1: Ignore Labour Councillors when they suggest getting a move on with the repairs for Darnley Arch to avoid hasty 11th hour work.

Step 2: Only discuss the plans with Conservative Councillors. Ignore the Strood Traders Business Forum, Strood Labour and the Public.

Step 3: When Labour Councillors suggest overnight works to avoid heavy traffic, ignore that too.

Step 4: When the Labour Group suggest pushing the start of works into next year, to avoid clashes with two other sets of road works, do not listen.

The fiasco that was the long promised vehicle & pedestrian highway safety improvements at Darnley Arch is finally coming to a grinding end. And the result: a “cosmetic makeover” version of Darnley Arch & complete gridlock in Strood town centre.

Consequently residents & traders have to endure the daily traffic that has effectively brought Strood to a halt, and has placed already fragile local businesses under threat. We have spoken to local businesses that inform us that trading is half what it should be. Medway Council’s Tory-led administration has failed to learn any lessons from the 2012 Christmas closure debacle.

It is publically known that Morrison Supermarket, as a requirement of their planning permission, passed over a large amount of money to the council. After 14 years of compounded interest, the amount was approximately £700,000. The Council spent well over £250,000 on consultants & fees before any site work was carried out. Morrison had extended the deadline for accessing this money several times. With the deadline looming and calls from Labour to get on with the job, Conservative councillors stated that they would be “happy for money to be returned unspent?.

Instead of asking for another extension from Morrison, the Conservative led Council forced the work last minute, despite knowing the gas main replacement works and overnight M2 closures were already planned. Mismanagement on this scale can hardly be imagined. The effects this will have on retailers, with Christmas approaching, will be too large to bear for some.

Why were overnight works not implemented?

Why was this work not done during the original 2012 closure?

Why were two sets of road works given the go ahead for the same time, leaving little to no route for traffic?