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Ashford: A252 between Charing and Chilham could get £2.8m improvement

By Dan Wright

A major route outside Ashford is in line for a multi-million pound cash injection after being included on a list of the country’s most dangerous roads.

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

Bosses at Kent County Council have now applied to the Department for Transport (DfT) for funding after the government invited proposals from highway authorities to improve A-roads.

Emergency services at a crash on the A252
Emergency services at a crash on the A252

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

The DfT has allocated £175 million to upgrade roads across the country where the risk of fatal and serious collisions is highest, based on a report by the Road Safety Foundation.

KCC bosses will find out before Christmas if their bid for £2.8 million to spend on the A252 has been given the green light.

Paul Hardisty was killed in a crash in March
Paul Hardisty was killed in a crash in March

Chilham parish council chairman Paul Lulham is backing the campaign for improvements.

He said: “We are well aware it is one of the least safe roads in Kent and that there have been a number of fatalities, including our own parish councillor, Paul.

“It is a shame the chance for funding has come about following a number of accidents, but I hope KCC’s bid will be successful and we can help get it.

“It is something we are all concerned about and have been pushing KCC for a long time to improve the safety of the road.”

"Something does need to be done to the road..." - Nicola Dennis

Landlady Nicola Dennis, who has owned the Halfway House in Challock for four years, said she would welcome the improvements. She said: “Something does need to be done to the road.

“People just seem to think they can speed and not get caught – and because it is a rural road you see lots of people trying to overtake farm vehicles, which causes accidents.

"We see lots of issues at the roundabout with the A251 as well, but I think if a lot of speed cameras were dotted around the road, that would help.”

Council officers say the scheme will involve a number of improvements along the route including the refreshing of lines and cats’ eyes, as well as updating street lighting at junctions.

Kent County Council spokesman Thom Morris said: “We have placed a bid for funding for further improvements to the A252 through the Department for Transport’s Safer Roads Fund.

“Although we have spent funds on maintaining the A252, we will be taking advantage of this extra funding being made available.

“The money awarded will be dependent on the proposals we put forward, but there is a suggested maximum of £200,000 per km and the A252 is 14.1km (8.7 miles) long.”

The A252 and the A290, which links Canterbury with Whitstable, are the only two roads in the county featured on the Road Safety Foundation’s most dangerous list.

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