‘Temporary’ road schemes now in place in Westgate, Broadstairs and Margate

Westgate one way Photo Frank Leppard

‘Temporary’ traffic changes which will be in place for 18 months have now been installed by Kent County Council.

The schemes have been implemented as part of the government’s push for ‘active travel’ in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Kent County Council was allocated just over £8 million by the Department for Transport to invest in walking and cycling.

The first round of funding was £1.6 million but the remainder was dependent on this being spent within eight weeks.

Westgate Photo Frank Leppard

The schemes include 35 roads in Margate that have been turned into 20mph zones, a one way system in Westgate from the top of Roxburgh Road, into Station Road, which has resulted in the loss of numerous parking bays and changes in Broadstairs including a pedestrian and cycle zone on Albion Street and Harbour Street between Albion Street car park and its junction with High Street. The zone will operate between the hours of 10am-10pm (except buses, taxis and for access) but means the loss of three disabled parking bays.

There is also a bus gate on Albion Street between the junctions of Alexandra Road and Harbour Street. This means that there will be no through traffic except for buses, taxis and cycles. The bus gate will be in force 24/7, seven days a week.

Westgate Photo Frank Leppard

The schemes have caused uproar with traders in Westgate and Broadstairs saying they will lose business. A protest was held in Westgate last month, a petition has been handed into Kent County Council and ward councillor Bertie Braidwood branded the loss of bays as “economic suicide” for the town.

Westgate Photo Frank Leppard

In Broadstairs, resident Graham Cosby. says the loss of the disabled bays outside the Albion, will make it impossible for his 30-year-old son, who uses a wheelchair, and his wife, 71, who has had cancer and a stroke and suffers with Parkinson’s, to walk to facilities because all other disabled bays are too far away.

Ward councillor Ruth Bailey said the plan has caused “concern” and she has been asking the county council for clarity.

Broadstairs Photo Mel Chennell

She said: “Originally, at the end of June, outline plans were touted as a short-term measure which would be active over the busy summer season to allow for social distancing, cycling and pavement licences.

Broadstairs Photo Mel Chennell

“Instead the busiest holiday period has been missed and we are now presented with a trial lasting up to 18 months. As the plans are designated as temporary, they do not require public consultation which I know people are generally unhappy about. KCC has been under pressure to execute such schemes all over Kent, within a very tight time frame, or risk losing the second much larger tranche of money.

Broadstairs Photo Mel Chennell

“I have had online meetings with the KCC project manager where I represented the concerns of businesses and residents, including Mr Cosby’s concerns regarding disabled access.

“I was assured the scheme will be continually monitored and adapted if necessary. KCC say they will be consulting with businesses and if there is evidence of a negative economic impact it will be grounds for a rethink.”

Margate Photo John Horton

Cllr Bailey had asked for at least one disabled space be retained outside of the Albion Hotel.

There are also a number of residents in the towns who are in favour of the scheme and its aims to increase walking and cycling.

KCC has asked people to let the schemes bed in for a few weeks to see how they are working before emailing comments directly to [email protected]

54 Comments

  1. The loss of the three disabled parking bays in Broadstairs before close by alternative provision has been arranged is really not good enough and should be challenged. I cannot believe this action is reasonable or compliant with the Equality Act. Shameful.

    • Looking at the layout of Albion Street it is hard to understand why the disabled bays have been removed/ suspended. In fact it would seem to be a much safer option than any alternative, since traffic is/ will be much reduced.
      As for Westgate – why on earth have they blocked off parking in front of Boots etc? There appears to be no logic to that at all.

      • The funding came from central government. It’s a scheme to try and make things safer for people who don’t drive cars.

    • Are you insane Peter? Do you live in Westgate? There is absolutely nothing good about what they have done to Westgate. You clearly either live within 2 minutes walk of the high street or you don’t live here at all.

  2. Bit heavy handed at Westgate not a lot of thought gone into it. How do the shops get supplys in unless of course they put them on bikes. Raised beds are nice but thats the only good thing about this rush just because they wanted to spend money before time ran out

  3. Westgate was normally buzzing with shoppers a sad state of affairs today, hardly anyone in the area because if this ridiculous move by kcc, as if trade wasn’t hard enough now its just got a great deal harder Im sure the traders in Westgate would like to meet the cretin who thought this was a good idea.

  4. Once again, another plan to destroy businesses, and drive all trade up to Westwood Cross.TOwn centre businesses are suffering enough as it is, without these extra hurdles. Pubs, shops, restaurants, tea and coffee houses will all suffer. Can’t park? Just go up to Westward Cross. Bye bye our towns!

    • Westwood Cross should never have been given permission in the first place. You could have said “Bye bye our towns”(busy shopping streets, anyway) as soon as it started to be built.

  5. All I can say it’s probably the same people who did this who changed the roundabout at the clock tower in margate to traffic lights then when it was a failure changed it back to a roundabout. Thanet KCC COUNCILORS were useless then ad now.

    • Why did they not leave the roundabout going round the clocktower, it worked perfectly, then some twit came up with a scheme to cause all the traffic to grind up twice a day during rush hours. The mini roundabout and traffic lights is a nightmare. Was that because they had a bit of money from government that needed spending quick too?

  6. This entire shambles of a scheme is that mastermind of Labour KCC councillor Barry Lewis. Pushing for his rogue 20mph and now that and other “experimental schemes” being rolled out in Thanet.

    Remember that at the next election. Oh and the fact he’s donated hard-earned taxpayers money to charity. Unbelievable.

        • Whether drivers ignore it or not is irrelevant. The slower drivers drive, the less chance there is of pedestrians being badly hurt, or killed, if they are knocked down by a car. So it’s better to have a 20mph limit than a 30 mph one. What percentage of drivers does actually break the speed limit in residential areas?

      • Considered and well argued opinion based on good data or just a bit of idealism? Just that in general traffic is self limiting in respect of speed , 30 mph works and has done for years, a bit of hazard awareness and traffic soon reduces that . Take margate seafront now a 20 mph limit but in general you’d rarely actually travel down it at 30 anyway.
        The real hazards are those drivers that won’t behave rsponsibly and cyclists/elevtric scooters and pedestrians that can’t look away from their phones ( yep drivers do the same and are lumped in with the irresponsible)

        • Cars are often driven much faster than the 30 MPH limit on Westgate seafront, which is why we often have police vans with speed cameras here.

    • Many of us have suspected that most of what you say most of the time is complete rubbish.
      You’ve now confirmed it by stating that Barry Lewis is a KCC Labour Councillor. He’s no such thing.

  7. All the one way system will do in Westgate is to push more traffic down to the already awkward cross road St Mildreds Road, Westgate Bay Avenue. I dont think any disabled groups were consulted on the Westgate scheme and I believe that they have to do that even with a temporary scheme.

    • The problem with that junction is the number of people doing uturns to go back towards canterbury road, when the junction was reduced in size they should have put a mini roundabout in instead. Quite why people can’t just go down to sea road and roundvthe block is beyond me, must be half a dozen minor shunts there each year.

  8. Oh at last some sensible road closures in broadstairs , Close Albion Street to traffic , make harbour street one way , with the traffic going alone the harbour wall to the road access to Eastern easplade , like they did many years ago when harbour street closed. And put lights on the hill to the prom . As it is it’s rediculous , the narrow road opposite boots should be one way or closed off , it’s just balmy!

  9. For a Council that constantly bleats it has no money, it’s amazing how they can pull it out of the bag for hare-brained ideas that nobody wants. You really couldn’t make it up!

    • The money has come from central government. During this CV thing they’re trying to get people walking and cycling again, for the benefit of everyone. (During lockdown, pollution emissions went down 17%).
      What beats me is how KCC can claim that making a few town centres 20 mph zones and creating 1 way streets is any use at all to pedestrians and cyclists.

  10. Absolute joke. Designed by people who clearly have no foresight and a complete lack of understanding local needs. These measures will not increase or improve cycling or walking especially with the winter months coming. What does a 20mph zone achieve in Margate? Westgate will die in 18 months people will just go to Westwood. At the very least KCC/Thanet council should make parking free in these areas. I’d be interested to know when a feasibility study took place in Westgate what drew them to the conclusion that this would be a good idea.What is boils down to is spend £8mil now to get more money later.

    • With the exception of the daft new bus stop, it’ll make very littledifference to westgate, the other negatives largely balanced out by easier parking and less congestion with the one way system. Loss of the spaces by boots could easily be balanced out by enforcement officers making sure the 1 hour rule is respected. ( not that i expect it’ll happen). 6 months and no one will care. Couple of accidents / close calls with the new bus stop and likely the planterswill be rearranged so that they can pull in. Job done

  11. Watched a bus trying to turn left into st mildreds this morning very dangerous, he had to reverse to make the turn. Planners nah, idiots maybe?

    • Apparently the bus stop outside the station is no longer used and a new stop is outside boots , ( because the planner was on the crack pipe and didn’t make it possible for a bus to turn left) so now the buses will effectively double park in st. Mildreds , hardly the best solution as it’ll block the view of those coming out of station road.

  12. Does anybody know why this trial is going to last up to 18 months. Surely 3 months is long enough, to see if it works. At the end of these 18 months do they remove it while they decide if it was a waste of time and money. Or is it left as is, while they have much discussion. Taking the time it is in place for 24 months? Also who is paying for all those pretty planters road blocks at Westgate, they seem a bit permanent also who is going to look after them? I can imagine the outcry if they look nice if they are removed next year, to reopen the road. One more question who is monitoring the bus gate in Broadstairs, if you happen to go the wrong way?

  13. Please come and do the same Birchington. The traffic is awful here and down the hill on the very busy Canterbury road we haven’t even go a predestination crossing.

  14. In Broadstairs yesterday afternoon , No drivers were taking any notice of the new signs , road makings and restrictions ! Disabled drivers and 4x4s parking in the old disabled spaces too.

  15. I do not understand the bus gate at the bottom of Albion Street in Broadstairs. At the top of Albion Street the sign says that only buses, taxis and cycles can go down Albion Street between 10am and 10pm. However at the bottom of Albion Street the bus gate apparently means that cars cannot go through there at all at any time of day with no warning anywhere else that this is the case. If you arrive at the no entry sign at the bus gate from either direction there is nowhere to go except turn left down Harbour Street from the out of town direction which is a no through road or left at Alexandra Road, coming down from the town and this is also a no through road. So what are drivers meant to do who can technically access Albion Street between 10pm and 10am? This needs rethinking.

    • We live in Alexandra Road and now have the bus gate blocking access one side of the road and the new pedestrian zone on the other so we cannot legally access our property with a vehicle between 10am and 10pm every day. I appreciate that we have a similar restriction during Folk Week but that’s just a few days not for 18 months! What if somebody wants to move house, have shopping delivered or get a large item delivered? There is no legal means for this to be done between 10am – 10pm. We contacted KCC Highways earlier in the week asking if there is a permit that can be issued to us, or if there is already an exemption in law but have so far had no response. I’m in agreement with the scheme but this element needs to be addressed urgently as there are vulnerable people living in the road who rely on shopping deliveries.

  16. Feel very sorry for Westgate shops, this will ruin them. What a stupid thing to do, we don’t all have bikes and some can’t walk far.
    Of to the Northdown road , good parking and busy inviting shops.

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