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Maidstone councillor calls for speed camera at Sheals Crescent near South Borough Primary School

A councillor is calling for the return of a speed camera to improve safety near several schools.

There used to be a speed camera on the north-bound carriageway of Loose Road, just above its junction with Sheals Crescent in Maidstone.

Residents are calling for speed cameras
Residents are calling for speed cameras

It was an open secret that for many years the camera was inoperable, but nevertheless its presence may have reminded some motorists to check their speed – it's a 30mph limit.

But at the end of July, the camera and its post were removed completely.

Cllr Dinesh Khadka (Lib Dem) said: "A lot of parents and young children need to cross the road in this area as they journey to either the Little Stars Pre-School or South Borough Primary School.

"Older children are crossing the other way to get to Maidstone Grammar School."

Ideally Cllr Khadka wanted a safe crossing installed in the area, but an earlier petition calling for a crossing he presented to KCC back in December 2015 failed to prompt any action.

High Street Ward Cllr Dinesh Khadka
High Street Ward Cllr Dinesh Khadka

Now he has launched a new petition calling for a return of the camera.
Cllr Khadka said: "Some drivers go way too fast as they head towards that bend, and it's just at this point where many families attempt to cross every morning and afternoon."

He said: "A working camera might slow them down."

Cllr Khadka said the original camera had "been cunningly switched off many years ago" at the time when other wet-film cameras in Maidstone were replaced with digital ones.

He has left hard copies of his petition for residents to sign in the newsagents shops in Barton Road, in King Edward Road, and in the Premier Store in Courtenay Road, Tovil.

Cllr Khadka said there had been two serious accidents in the area: one on April 23, 2016, and one on October 27, 2018. But he didn't want to wait for there to be a fatality before any action was taken.

He wants to present his petition to the Maidstone Joint Highways Board on April 26.

Families heading to South Borough Primary School often need to cross the busy Loose Road
Families heading to South Borough Primary School often need to cross the busy Loose Road

The issue was raised at a meeting of the transportation board back in August 2022.

At the time, KCC highways officer Alex Beech said there were "no plans" to replace the camera.

KCC has started work on a revamp of the Loose Road/Armstrong Road junction, and the next stage of that work will see the Loose Road northbound carriageway reduced from its current two lanes to just one between Armstrong Road and Sheals Crescent.

Mr Beech said that “should hopefully help control the speed.”

A KCC spokesman this week said: "The issue remains under review by the Kent and Medway Safety Camera Partnership."

There is still a speed camera in Loose Road on the south-bound carriageway, just before the Wheatsheaf junction.

That remains operative and is frequently among the cameras that catches the most offenders in Maidstone.

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