Highways bosses have refused to cut the speed limit in a village with no proper pavements – because motorists drive too fast.
Parish councillors in Preston, near Wingham, applied to Kent Highways for a 20mph zone but have now been told the restriction does not meet the criteria and would be “unfeasible and inappropriate”.
Chairman Tommy Gale says KCC’s response is disappointing because he believes Preston has a special case as it does not have the protection that footpaths provide and walkers could be in danger of being struck by vehicles.
The decision by KCC Highways follows speed surveys and feasibility studies in the village.
In the 30mph main street, average speeds of
between 24mph and more than 28mph were recorded, which KCC deemed was too fast for a 20mph limit.
“That does sound a bit counter-intuitive but that’s how the criteria work, apparently,” said Cllr Gale, “although we argued that we have only very few small sections of pavement in the village which makes pedestrians particularly vulnerable.
“We have previously suggested other measures like build-outs and red paint in the road to slow traffic but there’s always been a technical reason why it’s not possible.”
In correspondence to the parish council, a highway officer says: “I have liaised with my wider team to discuss the reduction of speed to 20mph and unfortunately it has not been deemed feasible to implement this.
“We have looked at it in depth and tried to figure out a way or ways that we could make it work but we can’t.
“The Street between Forstal Road and the speed limit terminal south of the village has recorded speeds of above 28mph, therefore is not considered appropriate for a 20mph, in accordance with KCC policy.”
“We will continue to explore all other options to make the roads safer for our residents and children….”
Cllr Gale added: “To be fair, I think the officer on our case did her best and was sympathetic to our concerns.
“Neither was it a case of money, because we were prepared to pay for the measures ourselves.”
Cllr Gale said the parish council would “continue to explore all other options” to improve road safety for residents and children in the village.
He added: “For example, it might be possible to buy strips of land to create some pavements”.