A Kent County Councillor has urged Dartford Council to come clean about the need for a new crossing in its borough.
A fresh war of words has broken out between councillors in Dartford and Gravesham over the location of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing.
Last week, Dartford council leader Jeremy Kite said councillors were becoming ‘increasingly dismissive’ of the case for a new crossing at Dartford as a means of cutting congestion on north Kent roads, with Gravesend their preferred location for a new route.
“We have to have a new crossing and it can’t be at Dartford. It is not a case of NIMBY-ism but of common sense,” he said.
But Bryan Sweetland, Kent County Council’s Conservative Party councillor for Gravesham Rural, urged Dartford councillors to ‘come clean’ about the need for a new crossing in their borough.
He told The Reporter: “I think if you look at all the Highways England studies and traffic flows and everything else, even if a crossing is built at Gravesend the problem will still exist at Dartford.
“Whether or not Gravesend is backed it does not reduce the significant congestion and pollution at Dartford.
“Another crossing will have to be built at Dartford. I can’t see that congestion at Dartford would be resolved by putting a crossing at Gravesend.”
Councillor Sweetland, who was formerly KCC’s transport spokesman, suggested the motivation behind siting the crossing at Gravesend was to open up parts of the green belt for development.
“What is needed is independent scrutiny,” he added. “I don’t think the Highways England figures would stand up to any independent scrutiny.
“KCC is not scrutinising them - they support option C at any cost.
“I was born in Dartford and lived there for the first 20 years of my life. I think people are being sold a pup, to be quite honest.
“There is a lot of congestion and when you can’t drive out of your road it is awful, but Dartford Council needs to be a little bit fairer and say the problem is still going to be around for a long time.
“I think that in years to come people will still be complaining about congestion.”