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Parking concerns over KCC's plan for new cycle lanes on London Road, Northfleet and Overcliffe, Gravesend

New cycle lane plans which will see the removal of parking and a bus stop have triggered major concerns from residents.

The proposals by Kent County Council (KCC) will see a total of 19 parking bays being removed in Gravesend and Northfleet with some being re-located into already congested side streets from the main road.

Proposed plans along London Road at Rosherville Church of England Academy. Picture: KCC
Proposed plans along London Road at Rosherville Church of England Academy. Picture: KCC

Jean Redsell, 74, of Rural Vale, is one vocal resident who is opposing the plans put forward for London Road and Overcliffe which connects Gravesend to Northfleet.

She said: "It is just not workable. The parking problem already rules our lives.

"If I go out in the day I need to make sure I am back at seven otherwise I cannot get a spot for love nor money. I do not go out now because I cannot take my car as I cannot park when I get back."

On a Sunday, Jean visits her son but instead of driving at the risk of not being able to park on her street when she returns, he ferries her back and forth so he knows she has got home safe.

In 2015, the community started a petition for resident parking permits in the area which were implemented in 2016 which Jean commented did improve the "awful" parking situation.

But now the council is removing parking bays. Jean added: "People will not be able to park outside their houses. There is no way we can accommodate this.

Proposed plans along Gravesend Overcliffe. Picture: KCC
Proposed plans along Gravesend Overcliffe. Picture: KCC

"They cannot be allowed to do it. It is just not going to work. Where are people going to park their cars?"

Now retired, the former KCC admin worker printed 500 leaflets and distributed them amongst the community in her bid to encourage others to oppose the plans which are currently being consulted on by KCC.

She continued: "It is such a stupid idea. They have not bothered to look into the history of the parking and taking that into account."

When asked what should be done, Jean simply said they should "scrap the idea".

The scheme comes after the council received funding from the Department for Transport as part of its Active Travel Fund to improve the environment for cycling, walking, wheelchairs and mobility scooters in Gravesham.

It will look to create a new two-way cycle route along the north side of London Road to create a safer ride, junction revisions to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists, new pedestrian crossings, raised tables to reduce vehicles' speed and changes to the bus stop layout.

County and borough councillor Conrad Broadley (Con), who represents Northfleet and Gravesend west district at KCC, is also opposed. He said: "They need to go back to the drawing board. They have not really thought about it.

Cllr Conrad Broadley
Cllr Conrad Broadley

"I do not think there will be hundreds of cyclists using it but there are hundreds of people living there."

The scheme will create a one-way system on Rural Vale, Gordon Road, Beresford Road, and Marina Drive to allow for parking bays to be re-located and two disabled bays will be re-located from London Road to Beresford Road.

He added: "To go down already congested side streets, it is going to cause mayhem."

Speaking on the response already received, Cllr Broadley said residents are already upset and these sorts of schemes are "not going to be popular".

After the first consultation in April the council received 78 responses, of which 68% strongly supported a new cycle route and 52% strongly supported new cycle parking facilities.

A KCC spokesman said: “KCC is currently consulting on a range of proposals for its Active Travel scheme, including in Gravesham.

Leaflet distributed by Jean. Produced by Cllr Conrad Broadley and Jean Redsell
Leaflet distributed by Jean. Produced by Cllr Conrad Broadley and Jean Redsell

"Officers have indicated in the documents how these proposals, if given the go-ahead, would mitigate the loss of some parking bays including by re-allocating some to nearby side streets.

"The plans also set out proposed layout changes to three bus stops, two in London Road and one in Overcliffe, to make them safer alongside separated cycle tracks.

"While we are proposing to remove one bus stop in London Road, due to its proximity to another opposite the post office, we do not envisage an impact on services because of this.

"KCC encourages anyone with views on these proposals to share them with us through the consultation page."

The plans are still in the second consultation stage until October 25 and residents are encouraged to put forward their views on the KCC website.

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