Fears Westgate one-way system and parking bay losses will put shops out of business

Cllr Bertie Braidwood is backing traders who say the scheme is not needed

A trial one-way scheme to be implemented in Westgate is causing uproar due to the loss of parking bays.

Kent County Council is introducing the one way system from the top of Roxburgh Road, into Station Road and finishing at the end of Station Road, outside the off-licence.

The aim is to widen the pedestrian area so people can pass each other while maintaining social distancing. There will be 20 planters installed and 20ft benches outside the barber shop and  the Co-op.

The scheme is one of several implemented across the county as part of the government’s push for ‘active travel’ in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Kent County Council has provisionally been allocated just over £8 million by the Department for Transport to invest in walking and cycling.

The first round of funding that has been agreed by government is £1.6 million with the remainder dependent on this being spent within eight weeks.

A second wave of schemes will be dependent on the government’s decision to award further funding. A submission was made last week and further schemes will be announced once funding has been confirmed.

But traders and ward councillor Bertie Braidwood say the 18 month trial scheme also means a loss of a large number of parking bays and it is feared this will hit businesses and maybe even cause some to go under.

Cllr Braidwood said: “The One Way system itself is certainly worth trialling as it’s been talked about for a number of years. What I am against is losing around half of the car parking capacity with no public consultation for residents to voice their opinion.

“KCC won’t release plans for residents to view and shop owners have been left in the dark.

“Many businesses may not be here in 18 months time if significant footfall is reduce so I’m calling on KCC to reduce the trial period to six months and to let residents have a consultation before works commence.”

There are also fears the closure of parking spaces will lead to chaos in Adrianand Ethe;bert Squares as motorists try to find alternative spaces.

Formal consultation was not carried out because KCC has to have schemes implemented in an eight week time frame to be eligible for the rest of the government grant.

If a proposal is made to make the scheme permanent then a formal 12 week public consultation will take place

People can comment on the changes at  https://www.kent.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/report-a-problem

‘Negative impact’

Cllr Braidwood added: “The loss of so many parking bays has too much of a negative impact that outweighs any positives this scheme will bring. Maybe a one way system will work but certainly not at the loss of so many parking bays. My view is that residents will be put off taking trips to Westgate knowing parking will be a nightmare.”

A one-way scheme in Station Road has previously been suggested by town councillor David Wallin but he says his idea did not involve a loss of parking and in fact created more parking spaces and  suggested parking free for an hour.

KCC says the schemes are being introduced through an Experimental Traffic Order and this  means that throughout the trial period the authority will be consulting and monitoring the effectiveness of the scheme to determine if it will stay.

Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport Michael Payne said: “We have to be realistic in that the first round of schemes will not satisfy everyone who has made suggestions, but by concept testing, in a way that has not been previously affordable, we have the chance to encourage more cycling and walking and make our roads safer for all users.”

However, the scheme is not being supported by KCC representative for villages, Emma Dawson, who says she fails to see its advantages.

She added: “I’ve questioned many points on residents’ behalf including the length of the trial of 18 months and removal of parking bays. I feel that it’s a top down heavy project being imposed from central government and has not allowed time to consider the thoughts of the residents.

“I feel this is a premature plan, to base it on social distancing only, seems futile. Scientist are currently searching for a vaccine and Covid 19 may very well be eradicated by next year.

“I oppose the large number of parking bays that will be lost from this plan and the effect of lack of footfall which will impact on business loss. The redistribution of traffic onto other roads from the one way system will impact the area as other roads will become congested. The scheme from my perspective will not assist Westgate.

“I have made my objections known to highways and I will not be supporting it.”

Cllr Dawson says she is waiting for feedback from the head of highways at KCC.

A petition against the scheme has been raised and is available to sign in J Prentis on Station Road.


  1. The big problem with Westgate, unlike many similar-sized towns (Eastry, Ash, Wingham) is that there is no car park. I still believe that a one way system and wider pedestrian/social spaces is a good idea though, so hopefully a compromise can be reached to ensure adequate parking too.

    • If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,if you idiots that think the council are doing this for the good of the people of Westgate you need to wake up and smell the seaweed,the only reason they are trying to rush this through is so they can get their grubby trotters on another huge chunk of tax payers money once they’ve wasted this lot.As for those of you moaning about the cars and the lack of pavement etc, how do you think all the traders get their stock,do you think the fairy’s bring while we are all asleep?Also if you carry on with these half baked schemes you won’t have to worry because there won’t be a Westgate town anymore.

    • As a resident of westgate on sea and someone who always walks to the shops I have met no problem in socially distancing during covid 19 . The present system works! The shop keepers need more of us to shop locally not less. This one way system with reduced parking spaces is bad news and is not necessary.

  2. Although I live in Cliftonville I prefer to to go Westgate rather than Cliftonville or Margate shops – and that is partly due to the free parking and partly for the good selection of shops.

  3. I too, often prefer to shop in Westgate, but think I will now have to make alternative plans, if there is a lack of parking, it can sometimes be difficult already.

    If there is a way of destroying any businesses, TDC will find it.

  4. There would be more parking for customers if selfish shopkeepers didn’t insist on parking outside the shops themselves all day long. The scheme is supposed to encourage use of alternative means of transport which is something that these people in westgate are too stubborn to even consider.

  5. As a former ward councillor for Westgate and former chairman of the town council I will be brief:
    Withdraw this plan ,leave Westgate alone ,it is fine as it is.

    • Oooo leave us alone we’re fine as we are…. errmmm nope, there are too many cars and not enough walkways for pedestrians in westgate. Pedestrians have to actually walk in the road on the railway side of station rd as their is no room to pass between the cars and the verge. The other side has a narrow footpath and is always busy which makes social distancing impossible.

  6. Mustn’t do anything to upset motorists, never mind the benefits to the wider community.
    PS I understand that Westgate has both a railway station and buses?

    • Love it or hate it, the fact remains that shops rely on cars being able to park these days. The days when dozens of people got on buses carrying bags of shopping are over. I should add that I don’t drive.

      • For the sake of the Planet, we need to get away from the idea of us all driving private cars.
        I’ve never understood why people spend £10,000s on a car that spends 23.5 hours a day on average outside your home or workplace, and rarely travels more than a few miles.
        And looking at the responses here shows just how wound up and stressed motorists become.
        I’m so glad I gave mine up years ago.

        • You’re preaching to the converted (as stated above, I do not drive – I walk, cycle and use public transport). But until/unless people give them up, we need to do what’s right for Westgate in the current circumstances.

  7. With some ceveats, I basically agree with the comments in principle about reducing the number of people driving about, people seeming to have forgotten how to walk and shop owners parking outside their own shop all day that certainly doesn’t help, but it is really getting a bit boring to be preached at by militant anti-motorists. There are so many reasons why people use their cars, being elderly / infirm being the one that especially springs to mind in a place like Westgate.
    I only live down the road, but (at 39yrs old) have a disability which makes walking much further than to Westgate very painful, but I’m lucky that I live within that proximity.
    As a career I perform music and in pre-corona times about three or four times a week, I lug instruments and equipment in to my car and drive to rehearsals & gigs. Would you prefer me to load it all on to a huge trolley, heave it to the bus stop or station, on to said vehicle, off at the nearest
    bus stop or station and then start the likely long, leg-aching walk to the rehearsal / perfromance venue…just to appease you types?
    Or do you actually think it’s worth keeping opinions about the motivations and moral / legal rights of people who you have absolutely no idea about to yourself?

    Ps I’m in favour of the trial because we won’t know unless we try, BUT think it’s a shame that parking spaces will be lost, both because of the lost business and the congestion elsewhere in the town.
    Pps Houses cost people thousands of pounds a month and sit unused (enter made-up statistic here) most of the time. Should people therefore not have houses either?

    I wouldn’t bother responding, guys, Just throwing some thoughts in to the mix to consider ☺️

    • “I wouldn’t bother responding..”
      If you post, you must expect a response!
      Apropos houses: people utilize them for much more than 30 minutes a day. And, unlike many cars, they’re not cluttering up the public domain.
      I’m sorry you are less able. But do you really think that it’s ok to deny 1000s or even 10,000’s of people a better pedestrian experience because you might occasionally be inconvenienced? Have you heard of the Utilitarian Principle??

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