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Faversham: 20's Plenty campaign faces long wait for decision

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Supporters of a campaign to introduce 20mph limits in town centre streets face a long wait for a decision despite getting backing from Swale council.

Kent County Council has had so many requests for the speed restriction it is having to review its policy over the orders.

The news will come as a blow to Faversham campaigners. Founder of 20’s Plenty in Faversham Amanda Russell has said how “incredibly frustrating” it is that the process has taken so long.

Amanda Russell set up 20s Plenty in Faversham.
Amanda Russell set up 20s Plenty in Faversham.

The 20’s Plenty group has gathered hundreds of signatures for a petition for a 20mph speed limit in certain town centre roads and has also gained the support of MP Helen Whately.

Swale council’s Joint Transportation Board agreed six recommendations from the group in December 2016, endorsing the scheme.

But four months later, KCC said it was still considering the recommendations and it could be a while before the decision is given to the cabinet.

The spokesman added: “This scheme has not proceeded to the Traffic Regulation Order stage and so has not been submitted for any form of approval by the cabinet members.

“Due to increased requests for 20mph zones, particularly schemes such as this that fall outside our existing policy, a review of our policy is required and officers will be undertaking this shortly. This will then require member sign-off.

“No decision can be made, regarding the suitability of the Faversham scheme, until this process has been concluded.”

20mph. Picture: Thinkstock Image Library.
20mph. Picture: Thinkstock Image Library.

Ms Russell, of Ospringe Road, launched the 20’s Plenty campaign back in 2015.

She said: “As campaigners, we have worked hard for over two years to put forward our case and it has been very well received both by local residents and all the members of Swale’s Joint Transportation Board.

“Since December 2016, we have been waiting for KCC to respond to our six key recommendations.

“Now is the time for our elected representatives to play their part and take action, to insist KCC engage and respond on this issue." - Amanda Russell

“There will need to be a public consultation and agreement as to how the scheme should be implemented.

“None of this work can begin until KCC engages with us to that end. So far all we have had is a request for information they were already in possession of. This is understandably incredibly frustrating.

“We can only continue to advise and influence our representatives, as we already have done, by presenting the background evidence, presenting our analysis of the need in Faversham, presenting our proposals and addressing any questions in return and we will continue to offer our time and effort to do so.

“Now is the time for our elected representatives to play their part and take action, to insist KCC engage and respond on this issue.

“The Department for Transport has already set out guidelines that make it easier and cheaper for local authorities to adopt mandatory 20mph limits where people live. KCC do not need to spend more time devising their own alternative policy.”

Cllr Antony Hook (Lib-Dem) believes that a Conservative councillor is behind the slow progress and says they have refused to sign the traffic order.

He added: "This is despite local backing for the scheme since last year.

"It is very clear that only by kicking out the Conservative administration at Kent County Council on May 4, we can have real and immediate progress on road safety locally."

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