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Sheppey councillors dismiss plans to remove the right turn traffic light at Barton Hill Drive, Minster

By Emma Grove

Plans to introduce a no right turn at a busy junction have been dismissed in favour of fighting for a roundabout.

Members of the Swale Joint Transportation Board (JTB) discussed the proposal for the traffic lights on Lower Road, Minster, on Monday evening.

Kent Highways had put forward the idea of changing the signals near Sheppey Rugby Club so cars cannot turn right into Barton Hill Drive from Lower Road when they are heading in the direction of Cowstead Corner.

Barton Hill Drive's junction with Lower Road, Minster
Barton Hill Drive's junction with Lower Road, Minster

It follows years of complaints about the junction and the fact queues of vehicles often reach back to the A249.

Minster parish councillor Peter MacDonald, who sits on the JTB, has been campaigning for changes for the best part of eight years and said there should never have been traffic lights there in the first place.

“The junction is totally inadequate,” he said.

“The solution is to put a roundabout there, which is what should have been done in the first place.

“Roundabouts work quite well because you get a free flow of traffic, even if it is slow [at times].

“[Kent Highways] need to go back to the drawing board – it’s getting to a critical stage.

“If you get queues on trunk roads because of a traffic problem further down the road then something needs to be done.”

Speaking at the meeting, Sheerness West councillor Angela Harrison said whoever had written the report did not know the Island.

And Leysdown and Warden representative Cllr Pat Sandle said that when the lights were not working the other day the traffic flow was better.

She also raised concerns about where cars would go if the no right turn was introduced, saying it would clog up the already busy Thistle Hill estate.

Members voted unanimously against the no right turn suggestion and opted to recommend a roundabout is put in instead.

Dozens of people commented on the plan on the Times Guardian’s Facebook page and the majority of them said the no right turn would not make a difference and that a roundabout is the best solution.

This will be put to Kent Highways and discussed at a later JTB meeting.

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