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High Street enhancements scheme, Royal Tunbridge Wells

In August 2020, a scheme to support social distancing and improve the environment was introduced in the High Street, Royal Tunbridge Wells. The scheme includes one-way routing of northbound traffic and temporary barriers to provide additional space for pedestrians and outdoor seating. The scheme was funded by the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Fund.

The council has received some positive feedback about the scheme from businesses, shoppers and other pedestrians in the High Street as follows:

  • less traffic, speeds had been reduced and easier to cross the road
  • the environment was considered to be more pleasant
  • benefits for the hospitality industry were clear (with more outdoor seating)
  • more room for social distancing on the pavements

However, the following concerns were raised:

  • barriers are unsightly, collect dirt and are too easy to move out of place
  • deliveries to businesses are proving difficult and waste collections create congestion
  • signage relating to the scheme should be improved/made clearer
  • more car parking is needed for this part of the town (although no parking has been lost because of the scheme)
  • one-way routing should be southbound

Since this feedback was gathered the council has been working to revise and enhance the scheme by addressing the issues raised, while retaining the positive elements identified above. The table below shows how these issues have been considered in detail and addressed in the solutions we are proposing, wherever possible.

Appearance of the barriers Temporary red and white barriers to be replaced by two parklets and a series of planters (indicative positioning shown on the plan below).
Loading bays Additional space for loading will be provided (indicative positioning shown on the plan below).
Signage not clear New signage will be provided for greater clarity.
More car parking Following a review, it is not proposed to provide additional parking as part of the changes, but no on-street parking will be lost.
Direction of one-way At present it is proposed to keep the traffic moving northbound within the scheme. This is to reduce the levels of traffic using the High Street as a through route to get to the A26.

* a parklet is a small public space, an extension to the pavement with planting and/or seating.

More about the scheme

Please see below a plan showing an indicative layout of the street furniture for the scheme. This plan can also be downloaded as a PDF document. Please note that the downloadable PDF plan is not in an accessible format.

Image showing the High Street consultation plan map for Royal Tunbridge Wells

The images below show the types of street furniture that is being proposed for the High Street. We will be ordering bespoke items so they will not be identical to those in the images.

Image showing a planter in a high streetAn image showing another example of a high street planterAn image showing a high street planter with bike parkingAn image showing high street seating

The enhancements to the scheme will be funded from several sources including Royal Tunbridge Wells Together BID and the Reopening the High Street Safely Fund.

If you have any questions, please email the Economic Development Team at