Published: 06:00, 08 November 2019
Villagers fed up with narrow roads being gridlocked because of lorries are calling for a ban on HGVs.
People living in Boughton, Dunkirk and Hernhill want a traffic order put in place, preventing large vehicles from using them as through routes as an alternative to the A2.
Cllr Alastair Gould - who represents Boughton and Courtenay ward at Swale Borough Council - says the lorries cause “severe disruption” along The Street, London/ Canterbury Road and Staplestreet.
“These roads were not built for 44-tonne lorries,” said Cllr Gould, who lives on The Street in Boughton.
“They simply cannot take the overspill from the A2 when there are problems there. You don’t just get one lorry in those circumstances, you get 20.
“These routes become gridlocked very quickly when HGVs and buses travelling in opposite directions meet along the narrows road, causing severe disruption for local traffic and residents.
“It causes a huge amount of angst for residents, which has been heightened over the summer.”
Residents and councillors want a traffic regulation order to be implemented, which would prevent vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes from using the route, with access still maintained to farms and for deliveries.
Cllr Gould has started a petition, which has attracted more than 350 signatures in three weeks.
“There is a big feeling among residents to have some legal enforcement,” the Green party councillor added.
“We have started a petition online and also have a paper one in the post office in Boughton.
“We wanted to get it going while the issue is still fresh in people’s minds.
“The next step will then be to take the petition to the Joint Transportation Board meeting, hopefully in December, as it would have to be Kent County Council which implements it.
“Residents of the villages have to put up with the noise and congestion of living next to major trunk roads, but we feel KCC has a duty to give us some protection, particularly when the narrow roads through the villages are just not a viable alternative to the A2.
“It is important to make the point that we are not seeking to ban all lorries, and there will always be access allowed for deliveries and utility vehicles.”
A spokesman for KCC said: “KCC is working to engage with parish councils in the area, and has spoken with Dunkirk Parish Council regarding HGV movements, as well as other transport matters.
“Any restrictions would need to allow for HGV traffic to use this route whenever there are works planned on the A2 as this is the official, and only suitable, diversion route for the A2 Boughton bypass.
“In addition, every effort must be made to not impede local businesses and farms in the area, so exemptions to any restrictions would need to be made for access and deliveries.”
The online petition can be found here