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Vehicles on A249 at standstill with people trying to reach Winter Wonderland at Detling


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Traffic ground to halt this evening with hordes of drivers trying to reach a festive event, which was later closed with Kent Police giving advice to organisers.

The gridlock was on the A249 with people trying to get to Winter Wonderland at Detling.

Road to nowhere, The traffic clog-up tonight. Picture: UK News in Pictures
Road to nowhere, The traffic clog-up tonight. Picture: UK News in Pictures

Traffic was backed up to Bearsted Road Eclipse Park in Maidstone near junction 7, of the M20.

But now it looks like the event stopped letting people in as one visitor Gary Selby and his family were able to speak to a man on the gate and video the conversation.

They were turned back as they got to the entrance only to be told they were not allowed in.

Gary said: "We've sat in three hours of traffic for this."

People trying to get into the event were later turned away

One of those ground to a halt, Jon Boniface, told KentOnline: "I think Winter Wonderland organisers have been selling too many tickets.

"We have been stuck in traffic for over an hour trying to get in.

"There are people in front reportedly queuing for three hours and a there is a further 45 minutes just to park. We will all miss the fireworks we have paid for."

Mr Boniface later said his family were now only trying to escape the snarl-up to get home.

He continued: "Just when you thought you had something to look forward to. My children are devastated.

The snarl-up on the A249. Picture: Jon Boniface
The snarl-up on the A249. Picture: Jon Boniface

"Shame on the organisers for disappointing so many children."

Gemma Cole said: "Anyone going to the Winter Wonderland at Detling Showground don't bother, We've been in traffic two hours and not moving at all now. What a joke, it ends at 8."

Karen Saint Lawrence said: "An hour to go one mile along the A249. My advice, maybe leave a good four hours."

Others let rip directly on the organisers Phoenix Fireworks' Facebook page.

Jessica Wilson said: "Absolutely disgusting! Queued for over three hours with a child which the experience is mainly for. "Expecting a full refund."

Rebecca Stanley wrote: "Waited over three hours with three young excited, hungry kids who were expecting to have their dinner there.

Infuriated drivers stuck fast tonight. Picture: UK News in Pictures
Infuriated drivers stuck fast tonight. Picture: UK News in Pictures

"After four we are finally home, Expect a full refund for the massive inconvenience and disappointment."

Zara King wrote: "We have been stuck in traffic for nearly three hours.

"We have been less that three miles away for 1.5 hours.

"Our friend is at the gate and been told another 45 minute queue to get to the drive-thru.

"Sounds like way too many tickets have been sold and bad organisation."

Customer Juliet Wildish told KentOnline: "They charged £50 for a ticket to sit in a car in a field to see nothing.

"We were told to get out of our car and walk over to the screens, but my husband has one leg so we were told to sit in the car and watch the fireworks.

"We may not get refunded as well, it's disgraceful."

The maddening road chaos tonight. Picture: UK News in Pictures
The maddening road chaos tonight. Picture: UK News in Pictures

Some people who did manage to get into the event also say vendors are not wearing masks while serving people food and the event is not that well organised.

Missy Morgan said: "I only saw one vendor wearing face mask, others just had them round their chins.

"I went and spoke to safety office he went and had word with them and none of them listened.

"It took over two hours to get in, not an ideal day out."

Visitors who did manage to get into the event are reporting some vendors are not wearing masks. Picture: Missy Morgan
Visitors who did manage to get into the event are reporting some vendors are not wearing masks. Picture: Missy Morgan

Tom Mankerlow was driving home from work in the other direction tonight and told KentOnline: "I have never felt so sorry for people on opposite side of the road, one entrance appeared open for all those cars.

"I think it reflects badly on all concerned with this event and I hope they sort it for other nights - or cancel and give refunds."

He said those running the site usually have good experience in dealing with traffic,"

Inside the Drive-thru event (43634995)
Inside the Drive-thru event (43634995)
Inside the Drive-thru Winter Wonderland event
Inside the Drive-thru Winter Wonderland event

The Phoenix Events Drive-Thru Christmas Winter Wonderland, event is due to be held at the site every night until Wednesday, December 23.

Its website publicising the event is not working this evening.

Efforts have been made to contact Phoenix Fireworks, for a comment.

A spokesman for police said: "Kent Police was made aware of traffic concerns on the A249 Detling Hill due to an organised event.

"Congestion is not a police issue, however officers attended to ensure the safety of all road users."

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