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A20 in Ashford to close between Tesco Extra and Pilgrims Hospice for Hinxhill Park traffic light installation


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A closure-hit section of the A20 in Ashford will shut AGAIN next week as work starts on the installation of traffic lights at the entrance to a new housing estate.

Kent County Council is to close the stretch between the Pilgrims Hospice and Tesco Extra in both directions for almost two-and-a-half months from Monday.

The traffic lights will be installed at the entrance to the Hinxhill Park estate
The traffic lights will be installed at the entrance to the Hinxhill Park estate

It will be the latest in a series of disruptions on the busy route, which links Junctions 10 and 10a but has been closed numerous times in the last two years.

Contractor Tamdown Ltd will be fitting traffic lights outside the 192-home Hinxhill Park estate, but councillors living nearby say they can't understand why the road will need to stay closed until Wednesday, December 22.

Willesborough councillor Liz Wright, who lives in Mill Lane, says the traffic lights at the junction with Honeysuckle Avenue are "certainly necessary".

"They are good news from a safety point of view on that difficult stretch of road, but residents have been inconvenienced for long enough and I don't know why it should take so long," the Green Party representative said.

"Without the lights, cars would just be speeding out of the roundabout by Tesco and it would be very difficult for anyone trying to get out of the housing development.

The diversion will take drivers on the A2070 past the Sevington lorry park
The diversion will take drivers on the A2070 past the Sevington lorry park
The Hinxhill Park estate is set to feature 192 homes
The Hinxhill Park estate is set to feature 192 homes

"It will certainly make that junction safer but it seems like a very long closure."

Cllr Steve Campkin, who also represents Willesborough for the Greens alongside Cllr Wright, says the work should have been carried out during one of the previous closures.

The most recent disruption came in July when the stretch was closed for two weeks to allow contractors to install an electricity supply for the new estate.

Before that, contractors shut the road to carry out drainage improvements and install gas mains.

Cllr Campkin, of High Trees Close, said: "It seems to have been shut more than it has been open.

The A20 will be closed between Tesco Crooksfoot and the Pilgrims Hospice
The A20 will be closed between Tesco Crooksfoot and the Pilgrims Hospice
Cllrs Steve Campkin and Liz Wright both represent the Willesborough ward
Cllrs Steve Campkin and Liz Wright both represent the Willesborough ward

"People are already fed-up with the Junction 10a works, the queues for fuel, and the Sevington lorry park that we were not consulted on.

"We could do with a bit more joined-up thinking; they obviously knew the plan was to put traffic lights in at some point, so it should have been done before."

Plans for the Hinxhill Park estate, which is being built by Belway Homes, were approved in 2017.

How the Hinxhill Park estate is set to look; the development includes permission for a new entrance at the rear of the William Harvey Hospital
How the Hinxhill Park estate is set to look; the development includes permission for a new entrance at the rear of the William Harvey Hospital
Honeysuckle Avenue leads to the estate
Honeysuckle Avenue leads to the estate

At the time, bosses said the aim was to create an “integrated and sustainable neighbourhood” containing a green corridor for cyclists and pedestrians and a football field.

Neighbours in The Street feared the consequences of the development in their historic lane, which includes The Blacksmiths Arms pub and the 17th century Warren Cottage Guest House.

The homes, which range from two to five-bed properties, cost between £354,995 and £589,995.

This week, Cllr Paul Bartlett (Con), the deputy leader of Ashford Borough Council, said he welcomes the arrival of traffic lights.

Cllr Paul Bartlett (Con) says the traffic lights on the A20 are a welcome move
Cllr Paul Bartlett (Con) says the traffic lights on the A20 are a welcome move
The road is set to remain closed until Wednesday, December 22
The road is set to remain closed until Wednesday, December 22

"It's best the traffic lights are put in from the outset as when the new residents move in, they will get grumpy very quickly if it's difficult to exit the estate," the Cheeseman's Green Lane resident said.

"It takes years to retrospectively fit them (it took 11 years to get the traffic lights put in at Barrey Road, and eight years to get them at Finberry) so the council is on the front foot."

Due to the nature of the works, KCC says the A20 will not be reopening outside of working hours, with drivers instead told to use a diversion on the A2070 link road.

The traffic lights will be installed at the junction of the A20 and Honeysuckle Avenue
The traffic lights will be installed at the junction of the A20 and Honeysuckle Avenue
The road will be closed from Monday, October 11
The road will be closed from Monday, October 11

In 2022, more traffic lights will be installed in Ashford when contractor FM Conway starts work on the 'Bellamy Gurner' scheme on the A2070 Bad Munstereifel Road.

Work to replace the existing Orbital Park roundabout with lights was expected to start in the summer, but KCC is enforcing a ‘Christmas roadworks embargo’ to keep the route clear over the festive season.

How the Bellamy Gurner project on the A2070 is set to look; FM Conway will replace the Orbital Park roundabout with traffic lights
How the Bellamy Gurner project on the A2070 is set to look; FM Conway will replace the Orbital Park roundabout with traffic lights
FM Conway contractors won't start work on the A2070 until 2022 but have set up machinery in the area. Picture: Freddie Clements
FM Conway contractors won't start work on the A2070 until 2022 but have set up machinery in the area. Picture: Freddie Clements

FM Conway workers have moved onto the site but are currently only focusing on land off the main A2070.

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford

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