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.