Proposed changes to road layouts as borough reopens
Following the successful reopening of high streets in the borough of Tunbridge Wells the Council is exploring how it can make some changes to roads and pavements to enable people to maintain social distance and queue safely for shops.
The schemes that are prioritising are those that will make a difference to the safe, successful and sustainable reopening of shops, and, in time, bars and restaurants. The schemes have been broadly supported by representatives of residents’ groups, businesses and all political groups on the Council.
Council Leader Alan McDermott said: ‘We appreciate that views are strongly held on issues relating to transport but we have tried to prioritise schemes that will make a difference. It is possible that we may not have the money or ability to deliver all the schemes. Government has allocated funding from which £1.6m has been earmarked for this initial phase across the whole of Kent and bids from councils have exceeded £10m. We will also have to work with Kent County Council – the highways authority – to deliver them.’
The Council’s submission to Kent County Council for Royal Tunbridge Wells includes proposals for 20mph limits across the town centre and for there to be wider pavement areas on Camden Road, Grosvenor Road (by Tesco) and the High Street. Also, for the High Street and part of Camden Road to become one-way only. There are additional measures proposed such as a cycle lane uphill on Major Yorks Road and promoting Reynolds Lane, Southborough as a walking and cycling route by making it access-only to vehicles.
Across the wider borough the priority schemes include making Commercial Road, Paddock Wood one-way and 20mph limits in high streets across the borough.
People living in the areas will be notified before any measures are put in place and their feedback will be sought as the schemes are reviewed following implementation.
If this initial round is successfully implemented, and if funding is forthcoming, the Council may be able to look at additional future schemes or at making some of the trial schemes more permanent as part of its emerging Transport Strategy and Local Plan.