New figures, demonstrating that the long-awaited A21dualling between Tonbridge and Pembury could be delivered at less than half the current £120m cost, were presented to Roads Minister Mike Penning at a meeting on 22 March 2011.
Following the meeting, Greg said:
"This is tremendous news and shows just what can be done with greater local control. KCC's figures would cut the cost by half and give new hope that the long awaited dualling of the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury can now be completed - and at much less cost to the public purse.
"The Minister has promised full access to Highways Agency figures and to release all the information KCC needs to complete its re-costing of this vital scheme. We will be meeting the Minister again in 6-7 weeks with a fully worked up proposal.
"I also stressed how critical it was that the Public Inquiry was re-started. The Minister understood fully that a re-costed road scheme given the go-ahead could then be delayed - and increase in price - if the Inquiry hadn't been completed. He promised to make a decision on the Inquiry as soon as possible.
"KCC is to be congratulated for its innovative approach to getting the job done."
KCC Leader Paul Carter commented:
"Working with leading construction companies, we've proved it may be possible to cut the £120m cost of the A21 improvements by half. This is a major breakthrough and I believe this scheme could forge a new model for lower cost, local delivery of vital construction schemes.
"The Minister has today given us a unique opportunity to prove our case. Over the next 6 weeks we will have full access to Highways Agency figures and officials to develop a fully-costed proposal that could at last offer hope to local businesses and local people gridlocked on the A21.
"I've long believed that new roads and public buildings could be built at much less cost if we had greater local control. I now aim to prove it!"
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