Scott Purchas, for Tunbridge Wells Bicycle User Group (TWBUG), had registered to speak and commented that whilst the Langton Road crossing was welcomed it was inaccurate to suggest that it was part of a complete cycle route from the town to Rusthall and Langton. Such a route was needed and further work was requested however shared use paths should be avoided. Any proposed works to Carrs Corner and the surrounding areas should have regard to improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The Joint Transportation Board should monitor performance indicators which would highlight the increasing number of injuries on Kent’s roads. TWBUG supported efforts to improve the town centre as a place to visit and dwell but was disappointed by the lack of ambition of the proposed public realm works and further restricting of motor vehicles in the town centre should be considered.
Ian Rennardson, for Calverley Park Gardens Residents’ Association, had registered to speak and was disappointed to note that the promised HGV signs, pedestrian refuge and protective bollards had not been implemented. The Council’s commitment to major projects was sadly lacking in respect these simple actions. The aforementioned works and a 20 mph speed limit was needed and would become more urgent as the proposed development would inevitably lead to more traffic and more danger.
Nicholas Sturcke, resident of Kings Toll Road, Pembury, had registered to speak and sought support to convince Highways England to implement short term action to help alleviate tailbacks on the A21 by way of a left filter lane on the southbound carriageway at the Kipping’s Cross roundabout. The congestion was the prime motivation for drivers to leave the A21 searching for an alternative route. Highways England had acknowledged the effect of the traffic and advised that the only solution was to bypass the Kipping’s Cross junction, however work was not expected before 2020-25, this was too long to wait for any resolution. They would work with local partners to asses the feasibility of the proposal and the Council was urged to lend its support.
Councillor Scott, member for Culverden ward, had registered to speak and commented that written material had been circulated which demonstrated that 20 mph zones were effective in reducing accidents and worked without necessarily having physical barriers. The requirement to have physical speed reduction measures where the average speeds were above 24 mph was an unnecessary policy decision of Kent County Council. Furthermore, Upper Grosvenor Road had become a main arterial route from the town to North Farm and was increasingly dangerous to cross, a pedestrian crossing would also help to reduce speeds. Work was ongoing with County Councillor McInroy on both these issues.
Councillor Moore, member for Park ward, had registered to speak and commented that she was working with County Councillor Rankin to match fund a joint project to improve safety at Carrs Corner which was a priority for both Councils. She welcomed the implementation of the Grove Hill Road Traffic Regulation Order and recently received reassurance from officers that the restrictions would be enforced. Thirdly, suggestions that sufficient performance indicator data had been provided were unacceptable, the figures had been requested by members of the Cabinet following three consecutive years of significant flooding in the town. Residents reasonably asked what was being done as it was difficult for residents and borough representatives to monitor whether and how quickly faults were rectified. It would aid confidence in Kent County Council to have this information regularly reported to the Joint Transportation Board.
Comments were made in respect of the following items (other items were taken as read):
Pedestrian Crossing on Langton Road
· KCC had agreed to fund the survey work necessary to inform the next stage of the works, the results of which were expected around March 2019.
· HGV signage was due to be installed shortly.
St John’s 20mph Zone (including Currie Road)
· Additional roundels in the St John’s zone were welcomed but did not resolve the specific problems in Currie Road which was a single lane road but where vehicles used the pavements when busy. Proposals for changing the road to one way needed to be investigated.
Congestion on Kings Toll Road, Pembury
· There was little doubt about the need for action and a number of quick wins had been implemented.
· Inappropriate vehicles for the roads were a hazard for residents and causing damage to the infrastructure.
· Evidence was needed on the efficacy of Mr Sturcke’s proposals and a report was requested for a future meeting.
20mph Zone for Culverden
· The requirement for traffic calming measures where the average speed was above 24 mph was believed to be a matter of national guidance but clarification would be sought.
· Where policies were impediments they needed to be reviewed.
· There had been at least eight pedestrians injured in the past few month with no drivers injured during that period, this clearly demonstrated that the balance was tipped to the drivers and more needed to be done to protect pedestrians.
· Zones were preferable to single roads.
Pedestrian Crossing on Upper Grosvenor Road
· Pedestrian counts and speed surveys were underway to inform the next stages.
Reporting of Performance Indicators
· The ability of Kent County Council to report on a district level was questioned as nationally reported statistics on the number of people killed or seriously injured were provided on a district level.
RESOLVED – That, subject to the comments made in the discussion, the report be noted.