Published: 06:00, 20 September 2020
Residents are calling for a speed camera to be installed on a road dubbed one of Britain’s most dangerous - claiming ongoing safety revamps do not go far enough.
A group of first responders who live near a sharp bend in Pean Hill say they have been called out to dozens of accidents over the years.
They say it reached the stage where the emergency services arrived at the scene and called them by their first names.
One of them, Billy Stretton, said: “If there is any life to save and any comfort to be given, we are there to give it and we are just ordinary house owners.
“We’ve had three fatalities outside our front doors; we’re not hardened to anything because we’re just ordinary families. All the residents along here are asking for is a speed camera.”
Ms Stretton and other residents have long-campaigned for a speed camera to be installed near the corner they call an accident blackspot.
“It isn’t the road that’s the problem, it’s the drivers in the cars,” she added.
“There is nothing at all wrong with the road or its surface. The corner is quite blind and people just come hurling through.”
Ms Stretton, 74, has also questioned why residents were not consulted on the new safety improvements by Kent County Council.
Gorrell councillor Chris Cornell (Lab) agrees and says local residents could have been “far better engaged” in the proposed improvements.
“I understand the amount of money is limited,” he said. “But local knowledge about ‘near-misses’ as well as proven accidents, particularly when they happen late at night or in badly lit places, is essential if we are to get the improvements we need to reduce accidents.”
The road has been the scene of multiple crashes in recent years and in 2019 was named in the top 10 persistently higher-risk routes in the country by the Road Safety Foundation.
As much as £1.5million from the Department for Transport’s safer roads fund will be spent on the improvements - but the final cost is still being worked on.
Insp Guy Thompson, of Canterbury’s community safety unit, said: “Kent Police is aware of concerns about speeding and safety on the roads between Whitstable and Canterbury and it is something we are working with partners to address.
“I urge drivers not to treat speed limits as targets, but to always drive sensibly, legally and within a manner suited to the driving conditions.”
Closures on the road started this month and will remain in place until December 8, between 8pm and 5am.
Kent County Council, which is carrying out the works, has warned delays are likely and diversions will be in place.
It was asked for a comment on the speed camera calls but had not responded.