Ten sets of roadworks on same day bring the town to a standstill

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A series of gas maintenance and other utility works added to the closures and disruptions already caused by the regeneration works in Mount Pleasant Road.

At one point there were more than 10 sets of roadworks taking place on the same day, with road closures, diversions and temporary traffic lights causing long tail backs.

The owner of the Chapel hairdressers in Chapel Place, Toby Dicker, said: “It’s almost as if the town is closed for business.

“It’s insanity, there were four lots of roadworks all at the same time. One hold up clears and then I am sat in another one. People are late for appointments or are just put off coming in.

“I don’t know who makes these decisions but it’s been going on for weeks. There seems to be no forethought or planning and no coordination.”

Polly Taylor who runs the Pickering Cancer Drop-In centre in Monson Road said therapists had trouble getting in and patients had not been able to attend for treatment. The traffic had added almost half an hour to her journey in from Rusthall.

She said: “It makes me irate. I think we must be in the Guinness Book of Records for the town with the most roadworks.

“Tunbridge Wells has lost its identity, it’s so sad. No matter which end of the town you try to get in from there are hold ups, it’s ridiculous.”

Reports of large numbers of people left waiting at temporary bus stops while buses were stuck in traffic, included elderly people expected to stand in the rain for half an hour or longer.

Mrs Taylor said: “An elderly lady with a walking stick was waiting at a temporary bus stop in the pouring rain. There was no shelter and the lady was drenched.

“It is really upsetting, there are long queues with people just left standing in the rain while buses are delayed.”

A spokesman for the Arriva bus company said the roadworks had caused a number of issues for their services over the last few months.

They said: “We strive to operate a reliable and efficient service across the borough, however the high volume of work has resulted in operational issues as we deal with diversions and increased conversions.

“We hope that the impact to our passengers has been minimal and we are proactively working with the council to find solutions to minimise any further disruption.”

Tunbridge Wells Borough Councillor for St James’ ward, David Neve, said he understood utility companies had a right to carry out work but there must be a better way of doing it.

He said: “They are digging up in so many places that we are left with no alternative routes. It’s completely chaotic. Why do the roadworks have to all take place at the same time? It’s just gridlock. Tunbridge Wells is coming to a standstill, I feel so angry about it.”

Some of the problem spots

As Mount Pleasant Road remained shut, the High Street was blocked off at the junction with Vale Road to allow for gas works. Traffic was diverted causing long tail backs on London Road.

At the same time there were temporary traffic lights at various locations in the town including Eridge Road, Forest Road, London Road, St John’s Road and Mount Ephraim.

Added to this was the closure of half of Church Road preventing traffic going down it towards London Road. Concrete blocks and a no entry sign blocked off access.

This caused long queues on Mount Ephraim, Major York’s Road and London Road.

A Kent County Council spokesman explained buses had to change their routes because of the public realm works on Mount Pleasant Road.

He admitted this had caused further congestion in Major York’s Road and beyond.

The regeneration works on Mount Pleasant Road are due to finish on October 31.

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