A one-way system installed in Westgate this month will be entirely removed after demonstrations, a petition and representation from residents, businesses and councillors.
Kent County Councillors Emma Dawson and Liz Hurst, who represent the rural areas, met authority members today (September 29) to once again express the views of many in the town.
Kent County Council introduced the system from the top of Roxburgh Road, into Station Road and finishing at the end of Station Road, outside the off-licence.
The aim was to widen the pedestrian area so people could pass each other while maintaining social distancing. Planters were installed to mark out the pedestrian area.
The scheme, which was due to be in place for 18 months, was one of several implemented across the county as part of the government’s push for ‘active travel’ in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. This aims to encourage people to walk and cycle rather than use cars or public transport.
But several issues arose as buses and lorries struggled to get around the junction to St Mildred’s from Station Road and traders said the system was hitting their custom.
Today Cllr Dawson revealed KCC has now agreed a U-turn and will remove the system entirely from tomorrow (September 30).
She said: “The community spirit has been a significant part of pushing against the imposing design of the one way system. It isn’t working and it’s now been recognised as such from KCC.
“I am thankful that the community has pulled together and pushed to have their voices heard. There will be lessons learnt from this and it will set an example for any projects in the future. Community first, consultation first. We have been heard.”
A trial under the same scheme in Dover to turn the lane travelling towards the town on Maison Dieu Road into a temporary cycle and bus lane only has also been ditched following complaints.
Broadstairs also had measures installed under the same scheme. These include 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.
A Kent County Council spokesman said: “We have decided to remove the temporary Station Road scheme in Westgate on Sea and return the parking spaces and two-way road as it was previously.
“All changes introduced by the trial scheme will be removed starting on Wednesday, September 30.
“Whilst the scheme was implemented to promote social distancing and increase walking and cycling opportunities, and we still see the benefits this brings, local KCC members, the Town Council and the local MP Sir Roger Gale requested the scheme be removed.
“These trials, announced in early August, form part of the government’s desire to encourage ‘active travel’ and the need for social distancing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We appreciate that some schemes will not satisfy everyone but the government has asked all local authorities to inspire more cycling and walking.
“KCC was given eight weeks to install the changes using the money government awarded, alongside powers to use an Experimental Traffic Order.
“This means that throughout the trial period, KCC is consulting and monitoring the effectiveness of the scheme rather than doing so beforehand.
“In some cases, feedback has already enabled changes to be put in place as the schemes are used by the public.
“By implementing these schemes without delay, KCC is in the best position possible to secure the second tranche of monies that the government has said it is prepared to allocate to Kent.
“This will fund other active travel schemes with a longer lead in period to allow proper consultation.
“The DfT criteria for funding in Tranche 2 is far more strict, and will only be applicable for substantial walking and cycling schemes.
“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 and this is something KCC is committed to doing.”
Moan moan moan, total waste of public money. KCC / government want to remember what they are like in Westgate and don’t do anything for the traders in future. There is no helping some people. I’m surprised they have not got a petition up to have the rail station removed due to the noise of the train going through their beloved domain.
How is this aided the traders Ann? Most ridiculous statement yet ! You obviously do not have a business here and don’t employ 30 odd staff that rely on footfall . Maybe think before you make these outrageous comments !
At last ! A result for common sense …
Well done the local KCC Councillors.
Well done to local KCC councillors? It was the Margate KCC councillor that pushed for this.
Not heard a peep from Mr Lewis concerning this good news!, Well done to KCC Westgate councillors who obviously took up the cause of all their constituents.
Though this all seems to be ‘about the money’ (2nd tranche) we need to give credit to KCC for having the wisdom and humility to admit they were wrong and that they should have consulted the community before we imposing the scheme. Well done.
Maybe now they will be ale the next step and provide funds for restoring the covered collonade in Station Rd which is so much a defining characteristic of the Westgate landscape.
That’s fantastic news.
The whole idea was ridiculous and such a waste of money.
Well done everyone
Instead of removing the whole new arrangement, couldn’t the bus route have been altered?
Martha Reeves.. the bus route had already been altered to run up St Mildred’s Road instead of Station Road. Some drivers (mainly of the 35 single deckers) were still randomly using Station Road though.
Please get my name right. Thank you.
If there’s less less traffic will she be dancing in the street?
Will who be dancing in the street?
Martha Reeves of course!
A sad day for every road user other than motorists.
The Council has capitulated to the bullies. They won’t stop now until every green space foot path and pavement is turned into a road or car park
I agree with your first two sentences but think you nay be exaggerating somewhat with the last.
may not nay
Well done everyone in Westgate… So proud of the town I consider my second home!!
It’s my only home! Agreed though, on balance the right decision has (probably) been made.
That’s a shame. It made crossing St Mildred’s Rd a lot safer.
Excellent result. Now we just need to get rid of the ridiculous one in Margate.
You mean allow unrestricted traffic right through the high street? Would be disastrous!
Whilst I’ve mixed feelings (good and bad) over the one-way system, well done to Liz and Emma for doing exactly what they were voted in for – campaigning on behalf of the local majority.
The local majority isn’t always sensible,unfortunately.
Marva, do you live/work in Westgate? I’m not criticising if you don’t, but just curious. I initially thought the one way system was a great idea, but having shopped and even cycled through there several times since admit I was wrong.
Of course, nearly all attempts to limit traffic get opposed initially, even though many quickly become the norm. Can you imagine the high streets/town centres of Margate, Ramsgate and Canterbury having unrestricted traffic access today?
I live in Ramsgate. It’s great having a pedestrianized town centre I don’t cycle or drive. I think people in Westgate should have given the scheme more time . Removing the whole thing seems ridiculous- I can’t believe that improvements couldn’t have been made. Are you going to say that people who don’t live in Westgate shouldn’t have any opinion on this?
Marva, of course anyone can comment, but it does help if you’ve had actual experience of the Westgate scheme (I rarely comment on Ramsgate as I don’t know the area well enough).
As I pointed out already, I WAS very much supporting it, but in practice (even as a cyclist who doesn’t drive) it didn’t really work for Westgate, and was clearly affecting trade.
Power to the peopleCommon sense prevails .well dome leave Westgate alone.
Now maybe we can have p&d parking instead finally to free up spaces for visitors to park. That would be a better scheme for westgate. Stop all the pisstakers who park all day long along station rd.
I agree with Phyllis. Didn’t give this a chance. Cars always win over people on the pavement.
Roads are for vehicles and pavements for pedestrians. You need a long consultation first if you are going to change this about. Not a good idea making changes and further changes tweeting things as gets expensive. These schemes should not have gone ahead without the standard consultations. What a waste of money. Typical government idea with no thoughts for anyone it involves. Scrap the others too.
I hope the boxes will go to a charity or a hospital.
Has anyone thought of putting in a predestination crossing in Westgate.
What an earth is that?
One when you know what’s fated to happen, I suppose!
Yes, pavements are for pedestrians. So why do so many motorists park on them? The car driver is top of the pecking order in Britain.
A highly visible traffic warden on a regular patrol would certainly cause selfish car users to change their behaviour.
Why isnt there a big photo of Karen Constantine smiling at us and taking credit for the whole thing?