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Canterbury's Westgate Towers will stay open to traffic, announces Kent County Council transport supremo

Westgate Towers, Canterbury
Westgate Towers, Canterbury

More than 80% of people in Canterbury voted to keep the Westgate Towers open to traffic.

Transport supremo David Brazier confirmed that Kent County Council’s will not create a new traffic management system in St Dunstan’s and the surrounding streets – as exclusively revealed in the Kentish Gazette this week.

Mr Brazier says he reacted to the fact that four out of five of the 2,700 people the council consulted want traffic to continue passing through the 14th century towers and roads around them to remain open.

The county council’s consultation offered five choices on the area’s future – four of which involved the closure of the towers to traffic and option E, retaining the present lay-out.

The Conservative said: “There was overwhelming support for option E in the consultation, and I have taken the decision that the road layout will stay as it is now.

“There were also a number of general proposals in the consultation, such as weight and speed restrictions, which are still under review. A decision on these will be taken next month, when full details will be made known.”

Opposition to a new scheme was fuelled by the original Westgate Towers traffic trial, which ran from March 2012 to April of this year.

Canterbury City Council’s trial saw the archway through the towers closed to traffic and vehicle movement around them controlled by lights. Cars were also banned from entering St Peter’s Place from St Dunstan’s.

The hope was to allow buses to continue serving St Dunstan’s and reduce traffic and pollution.

However, the scheme was quickly blamed for causing massive delays in north Canterbury, especially in Station Road West and London Road, and increased pollution caused by gridlocked vehicles.

Campaigners against another scheme greeted the news with delight.
Steve Coombs, of the Get Canterbury Moving group, said: “We are very pleased to see that common sense has prevailed and the public is being listened to.

“It seems that all the time David Brazier is on the throne at transport, we don’t have anything to worry about.”

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