A THAMES crossing at Gravesham would be a bridge too far - that's the message a new protest group wants made clear to the government.
A band of six concerned residents have come together to oppose option C - one of three proposals the Department of Transport has put forward for a new bridge over the Thames.
The £3.2 billion plan would deliver traffic onto the M25 by connecting the M2 motorway with the A13 in Essex but would also see a four lane motorway slicing within yards of Raj Bains’ house in Woodlands Lane, Shorne.
The 56-year-old has managed to collect more than 1,500 signatures against option C in just one week when he and the group went door-knocking around Gravesend and Shorne in the run-up to the closing of the public consultation on July 16.
The pharmacist told News Shopper: "I tried to get an extension on my house but they kept refusing me because it’s in the green belt yet they want to build a four lane motorway 100 yards away. It’s just hypocrisy.
Locations for the three options.
"We only had a week to get the signatures and I think it’s quite brilliant we got 1,500.
"We are frustrated by the way the government has gone about things.
"It’s been a big secret because nobody notified us about the consultation process and maps with the routes on were hidden away.
"We might have been voting on option C without even knowing where the road was going through and I think it’s a bit underhand the way the Department of Transport has done it."
Mr Bains has joined fellow Woodlands Lane residents Charles Reilly, Mike Golsby, John Dick and Paul Board as well as Chalk Church vicar Nigel Bourne in calling for the tolls on the existing Dartford Crossing to be removed before a decision is made.
He said: "Any decision should be delayed until an assessment can be made. When the tolls are gone the traffic will probably start flowing nicely." The group plans to collect 10,000 signatures by the time an expected decision in November and to have a website titled ‘A bridge too far’ up and running soon.
The Dartford Crossing.
A Department of Transport spokeswoman said: “No decision has been made on which location option the government should go ahead with and we are a long way off deciding on the exact design of the route.
“At the moment the department is closely considering all responses to the consultation following an eight week consultation during which a series of public information events were held giving local residents and businesses an opportunity to find out more about the options and to put forward any concerns they might have.
"Once an option has been decided upon there would be a full public consultation on the detail of the route.”
Where the bridge could go
Option A: The cheapest option would build another crossing at the site of the existing A282 Dartford to Thurrock bridge and tunnel.
Cost: £1.2 billion to £1.6 billion.
Option B: The shortest route would connect the A2 at Swanscombe with the A1089 in Tilbury.
Cost: £1.8 billion to £2.2 billion.
Option C: The most expensive option would connect the M2 motorway with the A13 in Essex, which would then deliver traffic onto the M25 between junction 30 at Lakeside and junction 29 at the A127. Widening the A229 between the M2 and the M20 would add an additional £2 billion to the cost.
Cost: £3.1 billion to £3.2 billion (£4.9 billion to £5 billion with additional works).