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Towpath traffic in East Farleigh is a ‘hopeless and difficult’ situation


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Neighbours are concerned for their safety on the towpath next to the East Farleigh bridge as they are often nearly run over by bikes and scooters.

Wayne Home lives in Riverside Park, a residential street next to the towpath.

One of the 'no cycling' signs. Picture: Wayne Home
One of the 'no cycling' signs. Picture: Wayne Home

The 58-year-old part-time delivery driver is deeply frustrated with people ignoring the signs to dismount their vehicles.

He said: "The worst thing for me is that the residents are scared of confronting anybody, because they just get abuse yelled at them.

"I’ve confronted a couple of people about the fact that they shouldn’t even allow motorised vehicles down this path. And I’m just told to ‘eff off’."

Mr Home has been in contact with Kent County Council (KCC)’s Kent highways team.

He believes that Kent highways did not classify the path correctly as it goes against their own regulatory sizes.

View of the towpath. Picture: Wayne Home
View of the towpath. Picture: Wayne Home

He said: "Kent highways haven’t got a clue of what’s going on. A width restriction of two metres is supposed to be for a suitable path, allowing traffic going both ways for cyclists and pedestrians.

"This pathway is a meter and a half at its widest."

A spokesman for KCC said: “This section of towpath has been adapted to encourage cyclists to dismount with the aim of causing as little disruption to residents as possible.

"We have a programme of repairs currently ongoing and will always work with people who report concerns to us. Police have been made aware of the use of electric scooters in this area."

The Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Fay Gooch, said this has been an ongoing problem ever since the path had a solid ground installed for wheelchair accessibility.

Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Fay Gooch
Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Fay Gooch

She believes Mr Home and his neighbours are rightly annoyed and believes cyclists should obey to the signs and dismount their bikes whilst on that section of the pathway.

She added: "I don’t think is a big ask, I think it is a reasonable request."

Unfortunately, Cllr Gooch described the situation as hopeless and difficult, as she has asked local PCSOs to monitor the area, to no success most of the time as they "cannot keep an eye 24/7".

She said: "I have every sympathy with Wayne. I do see his point, but we are between a rock and a hard place."

Mr Home said he was misled and wishes KCC would "keep the promises that were made at the outset."

The view of the towpath and Riverside Park houses behind it. Picture: Google Maps
The view of the towpath and Riverside Park houses behind it. Picture: Google Maps

Electric vehicles have been causing trouble in other parts of the county as an e-scooter trial scheme in Canterbury has left residents terrified.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

Read more: All the latest news from Canterbury

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