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ANPR cameras to catch drivers abusing bus-gate at Hermitage Park in Maidstone get public backing

Plans to use ANPR cameras to catch motorists abusing a bus-gate are pressing ahead.

The decision to install cameras at the bus-gate between Chapelfield Way and Howard Drive in Maidstone comes after the move was given clear backing by those responding to a public consultation.

KCC is determined to catch offenders
KCC is determined to catch offenders

Of the 134 people who replied, 98 were in favour of the cameras and 36 against.

Typical comments in support were: “People are using it as a cut-through [and] are driving very fast and dangerously. There are lots of kids playing and it’s become very dangerous.”

Another said: “I believe this solution will be the most effective deterrent to drivers misusing the bus-gate.”

But the scheme had its detractors. One said: “It’s just a war on the motorist and a revenue generation scheme.”

Another thought: “There are more pressing traffic issues to be addressed before this. This is targeting motorists for income once again.”

The No Entry at Chapelfield Way in Allington
The No Entry at Chapelfield Way in Allington

The bus-gate is intended to allow residents of the new 500-home Hermitage Park estate built by Croudace to be served by a bus route, while at the same time protecting the residents of the old estate in Howard Drive next door from seeing their quiet streets turned into a rat run.

The bus-gate was originally designed with a “sump-buster” - a protrusion intended to damage low-mounted cars but allowing high-axled buses to pass over safely.

But the sump-buster proved inadequate. Many SUVS and other modern vehicles have a high ground clearance and have been able to ride over unimpeded.

It is hoped that once offenders have been slapped with a few £70 fines they will desist from using the bus-gate.

The cameras should be installed by Kent County Council before the end of next month.

The sump-buster didn't work
The sump-buster didn't work

Councils outside London were granted new powers in July 2022 allowing them to enforce “moving traffic offences”. Previously only the police and inner London councils had been able to do so.

Cameras operated by Tunbridge Wells council on a bus-gate there have generated more than £1m in fines for the council since they were installed in April 2023.

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