Both KCC and city council slammed for ignoring overwhelming opposition to troublesome trial
It was branded “a farce” by council chiefs responsible for deciding the solution to the city’s traffic problems.
But that did not stop around 200 people packing into the Kentish Gazette’s public debate about the controversial Westgate Towers traffic trial on Tuesday.
The hall was packed for the public meeting on the Westgate traffic trial organised by the Kentish Gazette
The newspaper arranged the meeting at the Canterbury Academy because Kent County Council refused to, choosing instead to host an exhibition of five options chosen by a select few business and council leaders - many of who had already expressed their favour for it.
They have also launched a consultation that even KCC’s head of transport Cllr David Brazier - who will make the ultimate decision - admitted was open to abuse.
Gazette editor Leo Whitlock opens the debate on the Westgate and St Dunstan's traffic trial
But at the Gazette's meeting - which city and county council transport bosses refused to attend - dozens spoke passionately about Canterbury and the need for an unbiased consultation about a city-wide traffic scheme.
And when we asked which of the five proposals people preferred, almost everyone’s hand shot up for option E - to keep it as it is.
However, some suggest that none of the options are right for Canterbury. Four of them resemble the controversial Westgate Towers traffic trial and one involves doing nothing.
Many also spoke of their disgust at the council’s attitude to public debate, and thanked the Gazette for taking the lead on such an important issue.
Afterwards Gazette editor Leo Whitlock said: “We are here to give our readers a voice and we were disgusted when the county council, the city council hiding behind them, refused to hold a public meeting to allow council taxpayers the chance to debate the issue that has divided the city like no other.
“Accusations that the meeting would be a farce, would encourage a braying mob and would generate more heat than light were completely unfounded.
“Far from being pointless, everyone who spoke made well-considered points about Canterbury’s traffic problems.
“Rather than hiding away and sniping from the sidelines, politicians and the great and the good would do well to just stop and listen just once in a while.”
Video: The Gazette's public meeting
See Thursday's Kentish Gazette for a full report on the meeting.
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