Published: 09:28, 16 April 2021
| Updated: 16:32, 16 April 2021
Residents from a village who have had enough of speeding drivers blighting their streets have started a road safety campaign.
Neighbours in Hollingbourne came together to push for change following an accident where a school minibus carrying children crashed into a front garden in Eyhorne Street last month.
In the wake of the accident, the community galvanised and formed the Hollingbourne Safety Group with the hope of finding a way to combat the issue of speeding drivers, poor parking and car crashes which they feel are becoming all too common.
A spokesperson from the group said: "Almost all the villages around us have a 20mph limit but we haven't.
"At the weekends off-roaders are a menace. They drive up the byways so fast and the noise is a nightmare.
"It's really unpleasant and not the environment we want to live in.
"Coming from the Downs is 60mph and suddenly it becomes 30mph before hitting the village so it's really tempting for people to speed.
"When they reach the village they are then faced with a chicane of parked cars and then two sweeping blind bends, one just before the school.
"It’s like a mini version of a Brands Hatch.
"Although the parked cars slow people down, it also reduces visibility so it's hard to spot children. We're surprised nobody has been seriously injured.
"What we want is proactive measures that will not only slow people down but also take into account the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, farmers with tractors, and dog walkers too."
CrashMap shows 13 accidents - five serious, and eight slight - have occurred between Eyhorne Street, Upper Street and Hollingbourne Hill over the past five years although residents dispute this saying they remember more than those recorded.
Working alongside councillors and Hollingbourne Parish Council, the first steps to making the roads safer were discussed in a virtual meeting on Monday, April 12.
Some 24 people volunteered for a Community Speedwatch scheme and will be trained to use Speed Indicator Devices.
As well as this, residents are encouraged to report all transgressions to Kent Police so that vital evidence can be gathered.
The group, made up of 60 households, is also a member of the '20’s Plenty’ initiative which supports communities in their campaigns to lower the speed limits and is in the process of launching that as part of a speed reduction programme.
Shellina Prendergast, a Kent County Council Cllr for Maidstone Rural East, is also supporting the community.
She said: “Listening to local residents has always been very important to me and I am very much aware of the concerns raised by residents in Hollingbourne regarding the actions of speeding motorists and inconsiderate parking.
"To that end, I have worked closely with the parish council, Kent Police and Kent Highways to produce a highways improvement plan for Hollingbourne which will address these issues.
"The first scheme, designed to discourage speeding, was implemented in the Hollingbourne Hill and Upper Street area earlier this year and was funded entirely from my Combined Members Grant.
"The Parish Council’s Highway Improvement Plan is a work in progress and I will continue to work with residents and the parish council to ensure that Kent Highways are fully aware of the problems and take appropriate action, whether directly or in conjunction with Kent Police, to resolve the problems."