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Canterbury councillors call for 20mph limit along Blacksole Bridge in Herne Bay

By Jack Dyson

A 20mph speed limit will not be imposed along a “dangerous” stretch of road until someone gets run over, town councillors fear.

Safety concerns surrounded Blacksole Bridge, which links Margate Road to Mickleburgh Hill in Beltinge, for about eight years after it was built without a pedestrian crossing.

One was eventually installed in 2016, but husband-and-wife councillors Ian and Jeanette Stockley believe villagers walking towards the centre of town are still at risk as they have to cross the busy route to access the footbridge.

Blacksole Bridge in Herne Bay
Blacksole Bridge in Herne Bay

They say this is worsened by the fact that cars travelling in the same direction along Margate Road have to negotiate a “blind bend” beforehand.

Ian said: “People have either got to walk along Blacksole Bridge – which is narrow and horrible – or they have to cross the road to get to the pedestrian crossing. Crossing there is difficult because of the poor visibility.

“If you’re doing 30mph around that corner, you’re going too fast, especially if you meet someone halfway around the corner.

“It, in my opinion, is dangerous. I wouldn’t choose to cross there; I’d walk further to get to a safer point.”

The Stockleys say they have previously spoken to the area’s county councillors about installing a light-controlled crossing there, but shelved the idea after they were told it would cost “hundreds of thousands of pounds”.

Beltinge councillors Ian and Jeanette Stockley
Beltinge councillors Ian and Jeanette Stockley

As a result, they are now lobbying for the speed limit along the stretch to be lowered to 20mph and for road signs to be erected.

“We’re a bit toothless on this because it’s a Kent County Council issue,” Ian added. “All we can do is ask, remind and cajole.

“I’m not aware of any accidents there and neither’s KCC, but it’s a matter of time before something happens there.

“Until that time comes, I suspect we’ll find it difficult to get KCC to spend the money.”

County councillor Andrew Cook says the authority is considering lowering the speed limit along the stretch, but that it may not have the finances to do so.

Ian and Jeanette Stockley at the crossing on Blacksole Bridge
Ian and Jeanette Stockley at the crossing on Blacksole Bridge

He adds that KCC is hoping to improve road safety in three other locations.

“We’re also looking at the Station Road crossroads of King’s Road and Western Avenue, where Station Road meets the High Street and at the junction of Sea View Road and Reculver Road,” Cllr Cook said.

“We have to look at making all of these areas safer and, in my book, doing nothing is not an option.”

A KCC spokesman says the authority analyses police data to identify the areas that require investment in road safety.

“Each county councillor can give grant money which can be used to ascertain whether a 20mph limit or zone can be introduced,” he added.

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