Mindless yobs have stolen and smashed up new road signs in protest of a fiercely contested one-way traffic system around a town.
Vandals are understood to have targeted Herne Bay’s promenade last night, sparking safety risks to motorists and pedestrians.
Kent County Council’s plans to install a £250,000 Spanish-style plaza have encountered furious resistance, with residents fearing a potential meltdown on the roads.
This morning, multiple road signs were found to have been broken and snatched at the intersection of St George’s Terrace and Pier Avenue in Herne Bay.
The signposts had been erected as part of an unpopular new ‘Active Travel’ scheme, which includes new cycle lanes, 20mph speed limits, the creation of a “Spanish style plaza” in the middle of a busy seafront road.
The new pedestrianised area on Central Parade prevents cars from driving along the promenade, with the by-product of a one-way system on five surrounding roads.
KentOnline understands the stolen signs communicated to the drivers the new traffic patterns.
And, despite many residents objecting to the new one-way system the lion’s share have criticised the vandalism as dangerous and irresponsible.
“Absolutely ridiculous and very dangerous, ” commented one Facebook user in a Herne Bay residents group.
“Doing this makes the people of Herne Bay look pathetic and our concerns won't be treated with any respect – please stop, I don't want it, but I don't want this futile stuff going on either.”
As part of the traffic scheme, vehicles are no longer able to turn off the high street into Pier Avenue, which has been made one-way in the opposite direction.
Motorists are also only able to travel eastbound along St George’s Terrace, with Dolphin Street restricted to southbound traffic.
Telford Street and Richmond Street - between the high street and Central Parade - have also been made one-way.
Following strong public backlash to the scheme, the new plaza in particular, Kent County Council said last week that officers would look into reviewing it.
A Kent County Council (KCC) spokesperson said: “We are aware of vandalism to some of the signs installed as part of the Active Travel scheme in Herne Bay.
“We will liaise with our contractor to have the removed signs reinstated.
“While we appreciate the scheme has generated a significant amount of interest across the local community, tampering with signs puts safety at risk and delays our ability to review the new layout and explore future options, which is something many residents have expressed their desire for us to do.”
A petition posted to Change.org in December 2023 states residents' objections to the "complex route" caused by shutting off access to the central parade.
Petition starter Sallyann Baxter, who has 1,525 signatures at the time of writing, wrote: “We believe that KCC needs to rethink this road layout for the safety and prosperity of Herne Bay residents and visitors alike.
“We urge them to consider alternative solutions that will alleviate traffic congestion, encourage tourism, and most importantly ensure public safety.”