Calls for 20mph speed limits in all new Kent housing estates

Margate Photo John Horton

By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan

Speed limits should be capped at 20mph in new housing estates across Kent, a council group says.

Kent County Council’s (KCC) Liberal Democrats will lobby the Conservative administration at County Hall to introduce the road safety measure for all planning applications that deal with new residential areas in the 12 districts.

They say that cutting speed from 30mph to 20mph will help to cut the number of serious road accidents and reduce rat-runs in the built-up areas.

Maidstone county councillor Ian Chittenden (Lib Dem) put forward the motion for debate among 81 councillors during KCC’s full council meeting in two days’ time. He described his idea as a “proactive” measure to protect lives.

He said: “We are now building a huge amount of houses and that number is increasing rapidly. Why do we want to build houses without 20mph when the public demand for them is there?”

His comments come almost a month after KCC opened four 20mph schemes in Margate, Faversham, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.

The changes have included 20mph road markings and signs as well as signed 20mph ‘gateways’ as you drive into the town-wide trials. These will have either a buff or red surface to highlight the start of the new speed limit.

KCC cabinet member for highways and transport Cllr Michael Payne (Con) said the trials could form the “template” for further locations across the county, if more money from the Government becomes available.

He said: “If the majority of residents are also motorists, then they should all realise that to simply ignore speed limits is, at the very, least antisocial.”

This week, the KCC Lib Dems seek to build on Whitehall’s active travel programme of walking, cycling and 20mph schemes by changing the way that housing applications are considered by local planning authorities.

A motion asks the council to actively promotes the reduction of the default speed limit in all new housing developments to 20mph.

KCC’s 81 members will meet on Thursday to discuss the proposed motion during a virtual public meeting from 10am.


  1. Speed limits should be capped at 20mph in all city and town centres and in heavily built up areas, especially where there is a concentration of residential and office properties. The new speed restrictions in the centre of Sandwich and Broadstairs work well. Ramsgate and Margate should follow suit for the safety of all concerned..

  2. It is the pedestrians responsibility to use paths correctly and parents responsibility not to let their children play in the streets. Good motorists should not be penalised for the actions of a few. What is needed is better policing and harsher penalties for transgressors , not more controls.

    • Cars are much noisier at 30mph compared to 20mph, good enough reason alone to keep speed limits down (and as mentioned elsewhere, some housing estates don’t even have pavements to shops/schools/etc).

  3. Great idea! I would also like to see all new housing developments given pavements and/or cycle lanes to the nearest shops, so that people don’t have to rely on cars (as a couple of random examples, it is virtually impossible to walk safely from Manston or Acol to the shops a couple of miles away, even for those fit enough to do so!).

  4. I would like to put this out there! If there is a 20mph limit, Cyclists should also be subject to this and prosecuted too,
    With the increase in electric cars the roads are actually becoming more dangerous for pedestrians, as you can’t here these coming.
    I do wish roads to be safer, but I’ve yet to see evidence that a 20mph limit reduces the frequency/number of accidents, however I do acknowledge that in a car versus pedestrian accident the level of injuries is reduced.
    I too believe that pedestrians have a responsibility to ensure they behave sensibly and adhere to road safety, as evidence shows that the majority of car versus pedestrian accidents result from a lack of concentration by the pedestrian.

  5. “evidence shows that the majority of car versus pedestrian accidents result from a lack of concentration by the pedestrian.”
    I’d be interested to see your source.

  6. Well that’s a great start, let’s hope they roll it out across Thanet, I appreciate it’ll be difficult to police but, it’s a start.

  7. How does this policy fit with KCC building a station that nobody wants at Cliffsend, that is mainly going to be accessed by people using cars. Perhaps we should just bring back horse drawn carriages and hansom cabs .

  8. Newington Centre is a rat run not only for cars but motor bikes, cyclist and random kids on scooters (the ones you use one foot to move or used to). I have lived here for 7 years and as has been said already it is not only the cars but the kids. There is a car park for the shop that is used as a playground by the kids. There have been so many ‘close calls’ with the cars reversing to be able to exit the car park that it is crazy. The kids also think that the cars that are parked there are a great way to play hide and seek. Many is the time I have looked out of a window and seen the kids but the car drivers (although checking around them) are actually unable to see as they are bent low. 20 miles an hour would be a good thing but will not be able to be enforced as there will not be 24 hour policing.

  9. We have a 20mph speed limit here in the centre of Broadstairs but more drivers ignore it than observe it. Why? Because there is no enforcement. Speed limits need to have accompanying speed humps, cameras and successful prosecutions. Not to mention the occasional police office getting out of his/her vehicle. Sorry to sound so gloomy but that is the problem in Albion Street but the whingers put paid to recent proposed scheme to curtail the speed-merchants.

  10. I drive through Margate at 20mph. But when I see police coming off duty and not doing the speed limit i understand why I see so many drivers doing the same. Nobody cares 😟

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