Council gives the St John’s slow zone green light

Pam Mills

Plans to create Kent’s largest 20mph zone came a step closer on this week after the proposal was endorsed by the borough council’s Joint Transportation Board.

The decision to back the scheme on Monday [October 17], which will see 50 roads in the St John’s area covered at a cost of £40,000, came after a three-week consultation in September revealed strong public backing for the plans. Out of the 283 responses that were received as a result of the consultation, 94.3 per cent supported the idea.

A number of concerns were brought up during the consultation process, which Kent County Council [KCC] – the authority with responsibility for highways and a joint partner with Tunbridge Wells borough council in the plans – had to address.

One issue was whether adequate enforcement would be in place to make it viable. However, KCC said police ‘should not be expected’ to provide additional enforcement for new zones beyond their routine activity.

They justified this by stating the ‘already low speeds’ on most of the roads mean the 20mph limit is ‘most likely’ to be adhered to, while traffic-calming measures on faster roads will also bring speeds down.

KCC also acknowledged that parking in Tunbridge Wells ‘is a growing issue’, but stated the project would not change or remove any existing parking arrangements.

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