Published: 06:00, 23 September 2021
| Updated: 15:41, 16 October 2021
Cars could be banned from travelling along a seafront stretch - in a bid to stop boy racers “roaring” up and down the road.
Supporters of plans to transform a 260-ft section of Central Parade in Herne Bay believe the scheme will also draw more tourists to the town.
The pedestrianised area, which would extend from Pier Avenue to Station Road, is being eyed up to host live gigs, food vendors and cafes.
County councillor Dan Watkins says the new plaza – which he describes as a “priority for the area” – could be installed in 10 months’ time.
“Unfortunately, there are people who just roar along Central Parade,” the Conservative said.
“You’ll be having a conversation and it’ll be interrupted by someone with an extremely loud exhaust.
“The plaza will break up that stretch of Central Parade – so people won’t be able to shoot along it any more.
“It will mean fewer drivers will choose to drive along Central Parade, and more people will choose to walk or cycle to the seafront. It will make the town centre safer, quieter and cleaner.”
Kent County Council (KCC) has lodged an application for the £100,000 needed for the project with the Department for Transport.
Should it be given the green light, the scheme will see drivers travelling through Central Parade instead being directed towards High Street and Avenue Road before reaching the square.
“We’ve got a blank canvas to develop,” Cllr Watkins continued.
“It’s likely to work with people travelling west on Central Parade turning left a couple of blocks before the pedestrianised area and being able to re-join the road around Cain’s Amusements.
“It’s going to make Herne Bay a more attractive to place to come and visit, and the shops and businesses in the town will all benefit.
“These things will add up to make the Bay more of a destination.”
This comes after the pandemic put paid to city council plans for an 18-month trial of a similar scheme set to start last summer.
Authority officers said at the time the scheme would link the pier, which sits in front of the site, with St Anne’s Gardens, while also creating a “vibrant community space”.
This is the latest large-scale highways project the county council is drawing up for Herne Bay – following proposals to turn a huge swathe of the centre of town into a 20mph zone.