Published: 01:00, 06 January 2017
| Updated: 10:46, 27 September 2019
Plans for a 20mph speed limit across Faversham have been criticised as going back in time to the Downton Abbey era.
The Alliance of British Drivers has branded implementing a 20mph across the town at all times as ‘totalitarian mindless obedience’, hitting out at the campaigners and councillors backing the idea.
Swale’s Joint Transportation Board approved the scheme at a meeting at the end of December and MP Helen Whately has thrown her full support behind the campaign.
But the proposal hasn’t won support from everyone with the Kent coordinator of the alliance Terry Hudson this week calling it a ‘destructive campaign fuelled by emotional arguments’.
The alliance is described as an ‘active, responsible voice to lobby for Britain’s drivers’.
Mr Hudson said: “I expect many of us have enjoyed watching the TV series of Downton Abbey, but would we want the cars and speed limits of that era?
“Sadly, Swale Joint Transportation Board consisting of councillors representing three political parties voted unanimously to turn the clock back 86 years and voted for a 20mph speed limit over the whole of Faversham town and surrounding main roads.
“So 86 years of vehicle technology progress, has been pushed aside on the whims of a few councillors, who have been swayed by an organisation and its supporting groups that despise the freedom of movement that cars provide.”
Mr Hudson goes on to say that it is “simplistic nonsense” that cutting speed limits is the solution to road accidents.
He also says that having one fixed limit would make it even harder to cross the road and it would “restrict movement by car”.
He urges people to object to the ideas when the consultation is launched later this year by Kent County Council.
Mr Hudson added: “Those behind the push for draconian, time wasting low speed limits, think they have the superior moral high ground, which gives them the right to try and force us into adopting lifestyles, of which they approve of, with utter disdain on those who resist and who want to make their own choices.
"Those behind the push for draconian, time wasting low speed limits, think they have the superior moral high ground." - Terry Hudson from the Driver's Alliance
“While appreciating that Faversham has many narrow naturally slow streets, is this estimated £60,000 really the best the council can do with the money?
“Is creating more intolerance and making safe drivers drive in fear of a speeding ticket making for a good tempered community?”
Leading the 20's Plenty movement in Faversham is Amanda Russell, whose recent impassioned speech made way for the council's support for the campaign.
She says that a 20mph speed limit 'benefits everyone' and will address other issues such as pollution.
She said: "As a pedestrian and a motorist, I’m keen to cut pollution, ease congestion and reduce the likelihood and seriousness of an accident - I can’t think of a motorist who wouldn’t want this.
"The alliance's perspective is one of being solely pro-motor whereas ours is pro-people, whether those people drive, walk, cycle or use mobility vehicles.
"We don’t represent the views of one political party or one sector of the community and we can see that this will really benefit us all, just as it is already benefiting communities up and down the country."
In February 2016, the interim findings of a Department for Transport report showed that a 20mph speed limit becomes more popular after implementation - 51% of residents supporting prior, rising to 75% after implementation and 66% of drivers also say the new limits were a good idea.
Mrs Russell added: "Every mile per hour slower we drive, reduces crashes and casualties by 6%. A review of the first 230 20mph areas in England, Wales and Scotland indicated that average speeds reduced by 9mph, annual crash frequency fell by 60%, reduction in child accidents was 70% and reduction in crashes involving cyclists 20%.
"Yes, we are quite emotional about making our communities better places. We stand proud on that issue."
To find out more about the campaign, click here.