Work to install traffic lights at a key junction is to get underway today.
The signals at the turning of Willington Street onto Deringwood Drive in Maidstone are being paid for by the housing developer Bellway as part of the company’s 421 development in nearby Parsonage Place, Otham.
The measures, which will include new pedestrian crossing points and the provision of turning lanes, were required by the planning inspector who granted the site planning permission after an appeal back in January, 2021
The new lights have stirred some local controversy because they are at the dip between two steep hills on Willington Street, where it is claimed heavy vehicles will be reluctant to stop because of the desire to get a good run up the next hill.
In April 2023, KCC seemed to side with residents saying that following a safety audit it had decided that traffic lights at the junction could be dangerous and refused to permit them. It has now changed its mind following a redesign.
Bellways’ managing director Chris Moore said: “These vital road improvements are being carried out to improve the safety of this busy junction in Maidstone for the benefit of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
“We have worked closely with the local authority to ensure that the most suitable design is delivered at the junction.”
“While the process of making these improvements will inevitably cause some short-term disruption, we hope that people will understand the need for the works and the long-term benefits they will bring.”
Initially, access to Deringwood Drive from Willington Street will be closed, and the carriageway on Willington Street will be restricted and controlled by temporary lights. Work is expected to continue until May 26.
The company has already carried out other highway improvements in the area, including changes to Deringwood Drive’s junction with Church Road, widening and resurfacing Church Road, and improving the junction of Spot Lane with Ashford Road.
The company has also built a new car park for St Nicholas Church, which lies adjacent to the building site.