Wheatsheaf junction

The Wheatsheaf junction improvement is part of the A229 Loose Road Corridor Scheme. The scheme includes the following junctions along the A229 into Maidstone:

The changes to the Wheatsheaf junction include:

  • improvements to the A229 Loose Road with A274 Sutton Road junction, to a reconfigured signalised junction
  • the demolishment of The Wheatsheaf public house, where the space will be used for improvements including a landscaped area
  • the widening of approaches to the junction
  • the closure of Cranbourne Avenue to create a child-friendly cul de sac.

Changes to the Loose Road corridor were consulted on as part of the Keep Maidstone Moving schemes, designed to reduce congestion, travel times and pollution in Maidstone.

Scheme costs

The total cost of the A229 Loose Road corridor is £5.63 million (excluding the purchase of the Wheatsheaf public house). The corridor scheme will be let as a single construction contract with the LGF contribution being £3.7 million and the developer contributions being £1.93 million.

The improvements are funded through the Maidstone Integrated Transport Package (MITP). The MITP is a wider package of highway schemes expected to cost £13.9 million in total, of which £8.9 million has been secured from the Local Growth Fund obtained from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

The remaining costs will be funded by Section 106 Developer Contributions from nearby housing developments.

Scheme documents

Download the Wheatsheaf junction improvements plan (PDF, 1.1 MB).

The Loose Road corridor has been identified as a transport priority for Maidstone in KCC’s Local Transport Plan 4. Maidstone’s Local Plan also identified the need for improvements to the Wheatsheaf junction, Boughton Lane junction and Loose Road.

The traffic problems were recognised in the examination of the Local Plan, with the Inspector recommending further investigation of potential transport improvements.

The entire urban area of Maidstone is covered by an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). These improvements are crucial to reducing congestion, improving journey times and reducing air pollution.

The decision by the SELEP Accountability Board to grant Local Growth Funding for the Maidstone Integrated Transport Package (MITP) was made on 12 April 2019.

On 19 January 2021, our Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee endorsed the recommendations to give authority to take the next phase of the A229 Loose Road corridor improvements through to construction.

Scheme objectives

The scheme objectives are to:

  • reduce travel time along A229 corridor
  • improve the reliability of journey times
  • stop the deterioration of and improve air quality
  • enable planned housing and employment growth
  • reduce the use of unsuitable routes as rat-runs (cut-throughs).

A public consultation was undertaken in 2020 for the ‘Keep Maidstone Moving’ campaign. This involved a combined 4 public engagement sessions where residents could meet the project team and ask questions.

The responses were analysed and alterations to the designs have been made where necessary. These have now been completed and the next stage of procurement is due to start in April 2021.

The construction phase will start in the summer of 2021, and will be completed in the summer of 2022.

The demolition of the public house is programmed to start in June 2021, which will ensure a smoother transition for the main construction works.

Funded by

The government Growth Deal provides money to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, funding projects which drive Kent’s economic and business growth.