Tunbridge Wells set for most ambitious traffic experiment in the county

Pam Mills

Kent’s largest go-slow zone could be in place across a swathe of Tunbridge Wells by the end of the year.

A public consultation on reducing the speed limit on around 100 roads in the St John’s area to 20mph was launched on Friday [September 9].

The initiative, which is expected to cost £40,000 to implement, has the support of county councillor Peter Oakford, who represents Tunbridge Wells North. He believes the changes are necessary to make the roads surrounding the three schools situated in the St John’s ward safer.

Approximately half of the cost is to be met through Cllr Oakford’s members’ grant fund. This is a sum of money he can draw upon in his capacity as the representative of Tunbridge Wells North at Kent County Council, which can be directed towards local projects.

A further £15,000 will be met by the county council itself as the authority responsible for implementing the changes, while the remaining funds will be provided by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.

Cllr Oakford, who also represents the town’s St John’s and High Brooms ward at the borough level, said that ‘to his knowledge’ this was the most ambitious scheme of its kind and, if successful, may be copied elsewhere.

He said: “I had a 20mph zone created around St Matthew’s in High Brooms – but I believe this is the first scheme on this scale, and locally will most certainly be used as a test bed for further large schemes within residential areas.”

Police will be involved in the consultation and speed enforcement, while some streets – such as Newlands Road – will see traffic-calming installed.

The area affected is bound by St John’s Road to the west, Powder Mill Lane and High Brooms Road to the north, and Upper Grosvenor Road to the east running southwards.

Schools within this area include The Skinners’ School, St John’s Church of England Primary School and St Augustine’s Roman Catholic Primary School.

A spokesman for the Tunbridge Wells branch of the campaign group 20’s Plenty congratulated Cllr Oakford for the plans, which they described as ‘really big news’, adding that they hoped the initiative will spread further in the future.

To take part in the consultation, visit www.consultations.kent.gov.uk

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