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Making changes to road layouts

Why are the schemes being implemented?

In response to COVID-19, the government has allocated £1.6 million of funding to Kent County Council to implement Emergency Active Travel schemes across the county. These schemes will include changes to roads and pavements to encourage walking and cycling, and to enable people to maintain social distancing and to queue safely for shops.

Businesses are also able to apply to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for a licence to place additional tables and chairs outside their premises for customers.

The schemes are for the benefit of pedestrians and cyclists and should create a safer street environment with reduced levels of traffic. It is anticipated that this will lead to higher levels of pedestrian footfall and produce more pleasant environments for everyone to enjoy.

What are the proposed schemes?

Across the Tunbridge Wells borough, there are several Emergency Active Travel schemes which are being implemented. The government has set the deadline of 18 September 2020 for the first phase of schemes to be in place. These schemes are:

  • northbound one way traffic and wider pavement areas on the High Street, Royal Tunbridge Wells
  • 20mph speed limits across Royal Tunbridge Wells town centre
  • access only for vehicles along Reynolds Lane, Southborough with no through traffic permitted
  • light segregation cycling infrastructure installed along the A26 cycle route, St John’s Road
  • northbound one way traffic scheme on Commercial Road, Paddock Wood

The council is separately exploring the possibility of implementing a one way scheme on Camden Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Why hasn’t more public consultation been done?

The government has told councils that the money for the Emergency Active Travel schemes must be spent by 18 September (within eight weeks of being awarded). This very short timeframe unfortunately means we have not been able to carry out the levels of engagement and consultation that we would usually expect to do.

Who is implementing the schemes?

These schemes are being implemented by Kent County Council (KCC) but Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is involved in the project management.

Are the schemes permanent?

The schemes are temporary and are being trialled at the moment. We will keep them under constant review.

Can I apply to put tables and chairs outside my property on the pavement?

Yes, you can apply to the council for a licence to place these on the highway outside your property. Further information about this is available on our licensing pages.

Can I contact you about the schemes?

Yes, we’d really like to hear your feedback about the schemes and if you are experiencing any major issues.

If you have any feedback about the High Street scheme in Tunbridge Wells, please contact

To register support, objections or concerns about any of the other schemes, please email

For out of hours emergencies in connection with the works contact KCC on 03000 419 191.

Updates about the schemes will be posted on Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s Twitter, Facebook and Nextdoor accounts.

The High Street, Royal Tunbridge Wells

On the High Street, a northbound one-way traffic scheme has been installed, from the junction with Mount Sion. The carriageway in the High Street has been narrowed and the footway has been widened on the western side of the road with a temporary barrier to protect pedestrians.

Map of High Street scheme

Will accessibility and parking be affected?

Access to all businesses and properties is being maintained and the parking arrangements along the High Street remain unchanged.

Why is the traffic going northbound?

Both options for the traffic flow were considered when designing the scheme. Vehicles going southbound on this road often travel at higher speeds, with this in mind, and because the scheme is being trialled to improve the environment for pedestrians and cyclists, the northbound option was chosen.

The northbound option also works better for traffic flow on the adjacent A26.

Can I cross the road?

Gaps in the barriers have been provided for pedestrians to cross from one side of the street to the other.

Where will the delivery lorries go?

Two temporary loading bays have been provided on the High Street outside Wells Bedding Centre and outside Wards Estates Agents to allow traffic to pass by.

If the scheme is made permanent will the plastic barriers remain in place?

As these schemes are being put in place very quickly and because there is a limited amount of funding, temporary barriers have been used. The barriers mean the scheme is flexible and can be adapted if amendments are required.

Traffic in the centre of Tunbridge Wells is worse as a result of the scheme

New road schemes take a while to ‘bed in’ and for the rest of the road network to adapt. We will be closely monitoring the effects of the current arrangement, not just in the High Street itself, but also on the nearby streets. Any negative impacts will be taken into account when deciding whether the scheme has achieved its aims and what should happen next.

High Street feedback - September 2020

As part of the monitoring and review process for the new street layout in the High Street, officers from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, along with representatives from Royal Tunbridge Wells Together BID and volunteers from the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum residents’ group, visited 54 businesses in the High Street/Castle Street to ask for their feedback on the scheme. At the same time, the views of 50 pedestrians/shoppers in the High Street were also canvassed.

A summary of the feedback received from businesses and pedestrians is available on our High Street feedback page.

Following this feedback, the council is exploring options to address the concerns raised by businesses. One of the key concerns highlighted in the feedback was the impact of the scheme on deliveries to businesses. In response, an online survey has been sent to businesses to collect further information about the pattern and frequency of deliveries. This information will feed into further work that is being undertaken to see how the operation and look of the scheme can be improved.

If you have any feedback about the High Street scheme, please contact

Pavement widening on High Street outside cafe with tables and chairsNorth end of High Street showing no entry signs

The other schemes mentioned below are currently being progressed KCC. We will update information about these schemes as it becomes available. All the schemes mentioned below (except for Camden Road) will be implemented by 18 September 2020.

20mph scheme in Royal Tunbridge Wells town centre

A 20mph speed limit will be introduced on various roads in Tunbridge Wells town centre. The speed restriction will be implemented on an experimental basis for a period of eighteen months, after which it will be reviewed. The roads included are:

  • Camden Road
  • Calverley Road
  • Culverden Street
  • Goods Station Road
  • Grosvenor Road
  • Hanover Road
  • High Street
  • Meadow Road
  • Monson Road
  • Mount Pleasant Road
  • Mount Pleasant Avenue
  • Mount Ephraim Road
  • Rock Villa Road
  • Upper Grosvenor Road
  • Vale Road
  • Victoria Road
  • White Bear Passage

If you would like to register your support, objections or concerns about this scheme, please email

Reynolds Lane, Southborough

Alterations will be made to the junctions of Reynolds Lane to restrict vehicular access and encourage active travel. Access will be restricted to motor vehicles to travel from Oak Hatch (approximately 200m from the Culverden Down junction) to St Gregory’s secondary school. Signage will be shown at both the entrance and exit of Reynolds Lane.

If you would like to register your support, objections or concerns about this scheme, please email

A26 Cycle Route, St John’s Road

Posts will be installed along the edge of the existing cycle lane of the A26 cycle route St John’s Road between Culverden Park and Speldhurst Road. They will be placed at regular intervals with gaps to allow access to bus stops, properties and side roads.

These are being installed to allow cyclists to feel more comfortable when using the cycle lane. Motorists will be encouraged to think about the safety of cyclists and will be deterred from encroaching into the cycle lane.

If you would like to register your support, objections or concerns about this scheme, please email

Commercial Road, Paddock Wood

Motor vehicle restrictions will be implemented at the junction of Church Road/Station Road and Clavadal Road. Buses will be exempt from the restrictions.

This will reduce the level of through traffic on Commercial Road and to make the area safer, more pleasant and improve air quality. Travelling by bicycle and by foot will be more attractive. The scheme will not impact on parking at the southern end of the road.

If you would like to register your support, objections or concerns about this scheme, please email