‘Bits of cycle routes that don’t link up’: How to join new-look A21 to Tonbridge

Premier Inn Tunbridge Wells

THE Tonbridge Bike Users Group (TBUG) are trying to work out how to connect the new cycle path along the A21 with the town.

They held a meeting with Richard Long of Kent County Council (KCC) last week after the opening of a new stretch of dual carriageway.

On the same day, Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom reminisced in Parliament about cycling to Tonbridge Grammar School as a girl.

The path, known as the NMU [non-motorised users], is supposed to be connected to the train station. TBUG’s Fran Long says: “There is money set aside for the link and we wouldn’t want it to be forgotten now the road is open.

“So far the only bit that has been agreed is as far as Weald of Kent School,” she said.

“They have lowered the speed limit from 60 to 40mph and put in two dual-use crossings on Vauxhall Road, and they will widen the pavement for shared usage.

“But they won’t do that for the Pembury Road. The idea was to widen the walkway all the way down to the bottom but it is too busy with schoolchildren and residents’ parking.”

The options now being considered are Goldsmid Road or Woodgate Way.

The former is problematic because it is very steep and busy with parked cars and delivery lorries, and then users would have to -negotiate a narrow tunnel at Vale Road. The latter is a much longer route.

TBUG are keen to pursue a route through the station car park which, they have discovered, is not owned by Network R ail, Southeastern or Indigo Parking.

Mrs Long added: “Parents would like their kids to cycle to school and the A21 could be useful for those who are coming to the grammar schools from far away.

“But they don’t let them because it’s too dangerous with congestion and air pollution.”

“At the moment it’s bits of cycle routes that don’t link up. If the infrastructure is there, people will use it. Bicycle use is up 40 per cent in London.”

Last week MP Tom Tugendhat addressed Parliament: “I am pleased that the Leader of the House [Ms Leadsom] is in her place today, because she will understand better than almost anybody here the importance of buses for children to get to schools in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, having been educated in the wonderful town of Tonbridge herself.

“Sadly, the buses in my community and that of my Right Honorable Friend Greg Clark are struggling to get children to school on time and to get them home safely.”

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