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A252 between Charing and Chilham to get £2.1m road improvements

By Charlie Harman

A notorious stretch of road will undergo a £2.1 million safety revamp in a bid to reduce the number of fatal crashes.

The A252, which links Charing and Chilham, is considered an accident blackspot following a string of serious and fatal crashes.

But improvements including crash barriers, improved road markings and rumble strips on the edge of the road will now be installed after cash was secured by Kent County Council.

A number of improvements are planned
A number of improvements are planned

The money, which is set to be spent in either 2019 or 2020, will come from the Department for Transport's (DfT) safer roads fund after the government invited proposals from highway authorities to improve A-roads.

Hettie Walton, whose mother Chris Hickmott, 68, died in 2014 after her car hit a tree on the A252 at Chilham, welcomed the cash pledge.

The Park Place resident said: "It is amazing news; I am so pleased as they will be able to do massive improvements.

Hettie Walton, who lost her mum, Chris Hickmott, after a crash on the A252 in 2014
Hettie Walton, who lost her mum, Chris Hickmott, after a crash on the A252 in 2014

"I'm glad something is being done and I hope it really does help curb safety issues.

"I think the road should be made 50mph, though, as when you look at certain parts it is big enough for three cars and people think it's a race track.
"I was standing at my mum's memorial one day when a motorbike went past at about 80mph."

Skid resistant surfacing and lighting at junctions is also planned by KCC, which applied for the cash last year.

It had hoped to receive £2.8m, but bosses say the cash is still "great news".

Paul Hardisty died following a crash on the A252
Paul Hardisty died following a crash on the A252

KCC cabinet member for highways Mike Whiting said: “I must congratulate our highways team on gaining this additional funding.

“The money will go to improve the highway and reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on the route.

“The schemes have been developed through support from the Road Safety Foundation and our officers will be in a position to commence work on the schemes as soon as funds are available.”

The A252 has been the scene of numerous accidents in recent years, including a crash that killed Chilham parish councillor Paul Hardisty near Dane Street last March.

Former Ashford Borough Council leader Cllr Paul Bartlett praised KCC's work.

He said: "I was delighted to hear that the funding for safety work on the A252 has been secured by KCC transport team.

"I am grateful for the work put in by Jamie Watson, his team, the parish council and divisional member Charlie Simkins who have worked tirelessly to improve safety on the road.

"The priorities for traffic improvement schemes should always focus on offering road users the safest environment in which to drive."

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