Published: 00:00, 14 May 2022
| Updated: 09:34, 14 May 2022
Villagers who are angry with dangerous drivers using their roads as a 'rat-run' following M2 junction improvements, are calling for changes to be made before 'someone is killed'.
Residents from Borden Village, Sittingbourne, have called out speeding motorists for using their area as a short cut following A249 and Oad Street closures on their narrow roads.
Brian Woodhouse, who has lived in the area for 16 years, said: "Borden Village has always been used as a rat-run for the A249.
"But lately with Oad Street closed until June 5, there is lots of traffic coming through despite the diversion.
"Motorists are annoyed at the closures and have been speeding as a result.
"We want something done, we don't want to wait for someone to be killed."
Part of Oad Street, between Woodgate Lane and the A249, near Sittingbourne, has been closed since April 25 as part of a huge project to improve the Stockbury roundabout and the M2 Junction 5.
The roadworks come as preparation work to install a flyover and new slip roads at the roundabout continues.
Traffic is being diverted to the A2 and the A249 Maidstone-bound to join the Stockbury roundabout to access the A249 south of the roundabout.
However, despite Borden Village being used as a diversion for people travelling from Tunstall, Brian feels the current closures are making his area unpalatable for those living there.
The Kent football association manager said: "The village is trying to encourage people to treat Borden with respect.
"It isn't the place to drive dangerously and we're desperate for the council, the parish council, Kent Highways and the police to do their bit.
"I'm worried for horse riders, pedestrians and residents.
"I appreciate that drivers are frustrated with the closures and diversions but this is a village, not a place for reckless driving."
Matthew Barnes, a 37-year-old who has lived in the village his whole life, believes the issues regarding parking in the village are also making things worse.
The farm worker said: "When the roundabout works are improved and finished I think the village will be less of a rat-run as there will be a more straight forward route.
"We just have to put up with the improvements, but trying to control speeding through the village when there are issues with parking throughout the streets isn't going to work.
"The amount of parked cars means it is dangerous for pedestrians to cross between them especially with speeding drivers.
"So there are lots of traffic issues in the village that need to be sorted."
Lee Goldfinch, a retired firefighter who has lived in Vigo Lane, just outside the village for 20 years, has witnessed around 40 different accidents due to speeding.
The tree surgeon said: "There have always been problems with the sharp bend near my home and speeding cars.
"But now there is heavier traffic and more dangerous driving.
"I've seen cars in flames, cars on their roofs, multiple collisions of all severity, and we've spoken to Highways England about the danger of speeding cars and such but they said there isn't enough evidence of it.
"I can't see it getting any better, however since they closed Oad Street it has been better as there is less traffic coming this way.
"So the closures may be a small price to pay to stop traffic and dangerous driving."
The current speed limit in Borden Village is 30 miles an hour, however Swale council leader and councillor for Borden and Grove Park, Mike Baldock, is pushing for a 20 mile an hour limit.
He said: "Most of the parish is suffering from speeding.
"Oad Street, Borden Lane, Hearts Delight and Chestnut street are all seeing it.
"The parish council has been aware of this for some time and are now looking to implement a 20 mile an hour speed limit.
"We finally got Kent County Council to agree to the scheme so hopefully that will be implemented over the next few months.
"However, it has taken some time, but Faversham and Newington now have a 20 mile an hour limit so hopefully so will our areas."
Cllr Baldock explained how he sees more and more people taking short cuts through the village.
He continued: "The roads here aren't made for these short cuts.
"However, drivers should abide by the speed limit, it is all well and good getting away with it but someone is going to get killed.
"Learn to take time and provide time for your journeys."
John Fassenfelt, highway lead councillor for Borden Parish Council explained that drivers not only need to face tighter speed restrictions but also need to be educated.
The retired Kent County Council highways engineer said: "We have a highways improvement plan approved but we are now waiting for further meetings with Kent County Council.
"There are also issues along Maidstone Road and Chestnut Street where there are temporary signs for 30 miles an hour but painted on the road is 50 mile an hour signs.
"Drivers could use that as a defence for speeding so we are also keen to sort that issue out as well.
"The parish has agreed on a 20 mile an hour limit for the major roads around the village, but like they did in Faversham, the limit not only needs to be lowered but drivers educated."
Police patrols have also been targetting speeding drivers travelling into the Borden area in response to concerns raised by residents.
The most recent checks were completed in Borden Lane on Wednesday, May 11, by officers from the Swale Community Policing Team.
Forty vehicles were checked and two drivers received words of advice regarding their speed.
Sergeant Ryan Chase, said: "Local officers have noted concerns raised by communities about vehicles failing to slow down on the roads approaching the village.
"It is encouraging that most motorists were travelling within the speed limit and only two drivers had to be stopped to receive words of advice.
"Excessive speed endangers pedestrians, horse riders and other road users, and these checks will be repeated to ensure this message is understood."
Highways England has been contacted for further comment.