Plan to restrict traffic in Tunbridge Wells town centre

Three black cats

Early plans to create another semi-pedestrianised section of Tunbridge Wells town centre have received a vote of support.

As part of a proposed £1.3million scheme, traffic could be restricted from driving between Monson Road [just after Blacks’ shop] to the traffic lights at Cote Brasserie on Mount Pleasant between 9am and 6pm.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s Cabinet passed the draft motion as part of their Public Realm Phase 2 plan last week.

Gary Stevenson, Head of the council’s Street Scene department, told the committee the aim is to make the section ‘more pedestrian friendly’.

Between the stated hours, only buses, taxis, cyclists and cars requiring access would be allowed to pass along the section.

It could follow the road along Fiveways, past Royal Victoria Place, in being semi-pedestrianised.

Public Realm Phase 2 also proposes a narrowing of Mount Pleasant and creating a paved square area in front of the War Memorial, with steps installed.

A council report states: ‘The potential of this space to act as a functioning public space is currently constrained in a number of respects.

‘Its heavy use as the town’s principal bus interchange clutters the space and restricts pedestrian movement.

‘The limited pedestrian crossing facilities at the junctions with Monson Road, Church Road and Crescent Road, together with the split level and poor connectivity between Mount Pleasant Road and Civic Way have significant and harmful severance effects.’

After the Cabinet passed the plan, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council will work with Kent County Council to ‘develop a timetable to move through the detailed design process’.

This is likely to involve a consultation and take several months.

The report said the new plan would create a ‘pedestrian focused space’ and would enhance the Cultural and Learning Hub, which will incorporate the town library when it opens.

Public Realm Phase 2 would be funded, according to plans, by Kent County Council, who would pay £1million, and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, who would pay £300,000.

The plan received a mixed reception when the Times reported it earlier this month.

Jeremy Waller, Co-Owner of Jeremy’s Home Store, added: ‘We are shocked at this idea.

‘We have deliveries every day that are unloaded outside of our shop. If there is no access for lorries to get through then we cannot receive our stock.’

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