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People in Faversham have voted for traffic lights for the junction between the Ashford Road A251 and Canterbury Road A2

By Bess Browning

After a public consultation to decide whether a roundabout, traffic lights or no action at all would be the best way to solve the gridlock between the Canterbury Road and Ashford Road, a tight call between a roundabout and traffic lights has seen the lights take the lead.

A total of 44% of people chose the lights, with a roundabout just an inch behind at 43% and 13% of people calling for no change.

As a result of the consultation, Kent County Council has made a recommendation that traffic lights be implemented and a final decision will be made at Swale’s joint transportation board in June.

The extra costs of building a roundabout were highlighted during the consultation, with the lights costing nearly half the amount but more maintenance costs over time.

Some people suggested that lights would be less attractive and a roundabout would have more potential for providing an entry point for the town.

In terms of safety, traffic lights were seen as the safer option for pedestrians and cyclists in a slice of road that has had five injurious crashes, one serious, in the last three years, resulting in nine casualties.

The documents for the consultation also suggest that further issues would be looked at by KCC including traffic flow at the entrance to The Abbey School and other junctions leading on to the A2, but said that traffic lights could help with the problem.

The town council, the fire service and the police were all asked their views on the options.

Faversham town council preferred the traffic lights but both the fire service and the police said they welcomed the improvements but would favour the roundabout.

There could be ongoing problems with Queenborough Corner traffic lights

There could be ongoing problems with Queenborough Corner traffic lights

The documents outline a number of advantages for using traffic lights including lower installation costs, quicker to deliver, better facilities for pedestrians and cyclists, less disruption during the construction phase and less third party land required.

For the roundabout, the advantages were lower energy usage, significantly less costs for longer term maintenance, decision making retained by drivers, less delay caused by pedestrians crossing the road and visually a less engineered appearance than traffic lights.

A decision will be made at the meeting on June 9, which starts at 5.30pm in Swale House, Sittingbourne.

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