Consultation opens on Birchington to Margate cycle route on Canterbury Road

Scheme proposal on A28 outside King Ethelbert School

A second consultation on proposals for a new cycle route between Birchington and Margate – following the Canterbury Road – has opened today (September 14).

The project is part of the Active Travel scheme being funded by central government.

Kent County Council has been granted £6.1million for four proposed schemes, including the Birchington to Margate Sands cycle route.

Most of the scheme runs along the A28 Canterbury Road, traveling from Birchington in the west, following the A28 past Westgate-on-Sea to join Westbrook Road in the east, connecting to the Viking Coastal Trail.

Kent County Council says the route would provide better connections to key destinations in and around Birchington, Westgate-on-Sea and Margate. These include railway stations, schools, town centres, coastal attractions and business areas. The proposals also include improved crossing facilities, wider footways and new areas of greenery.

Proposal along The Grove

KCC wants to  install road safety measures, signs and cycle parking, possibly redesign some junctions and crossings and reduce the amount of through traffic and road danger in neighbourhood areas.

Improvements throughout the area such as seating, tree planting and landscaping are also suggested.

Previous active travel schemes in Thanet included the Westgate one-way system and Broadstairs bus lane, both of which were scrapped after resident complaints. Neither of those schemes had been consulted on in advance.

However, Margate county councillor Barry Lewis says the plans are a waste of time and just an amended rehash from the first consultation last December.

He said: “This scheme should be opposed as it will cost £1million and is a waste of money given that we have already got a cycle lane on the promenade and part of the Viking Trail.

“If there is any money it should be spent on improving that route.

“If this scheme goes ahead it may mean that the A28 Canterbury Road becomes a single lane and I believe this will be dangerous for cyclists as they will have to navigate people coming out of their front drives, two schools, local shops and parked cars.”

Cllr Lewis, who says he is not opposed to cycle lanes but considers this route to be the wrong place, says the scheme may also mean the loss of parking space and metering at those that remain.

He added: “This scheme is being introduced by the same people that introduced the unpopular Westgate and Broadstairs schemes which also turned out to be a waste of money and caused chaos. In my opinion this one is even worse as it is dangerous and will cause carnage on the main through road into Margate.”

Cllr Lewis says it is also likely to impact on roads in Manston, Acol and Minster as people look for different routes.

Kent County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, David Brazier, said: “This is another opportunity for people in Kent to have their say on these four schemes.

“We know people have taken to more environmentally friendly ways of getting around in the last year and a half. The results of our initial consultation in winter show people would be encouraged to swap their cars for bikes or walking if these routes are installed.”

The scheme is being backed by Thanet’s Cycling Forum.

Patrick Jarman, chairperson of the Thanet Cycling Forum, said: “The Thanet Cycling Forum, which was established in the 1990s to encourage cycling and promote its benefits for the community and for individuals, supports the scheme, which has many advantages and opportunities.

“Active travel – non-motorised forms of transport that involve physical activity, such as walking, cycling and manual scooting – has many obvious benefits to the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality.  And we are all aware that we are in a climate emergency as declared by Thanet District Council in 2019 and by many UK councils and major countries across the world.

“Active travel also has health, economic, and social benefits, contributing to improved wellbeing and helping to prevent or manage a range of health conditions such as obesity.  It can also contribute to economic performance by reducing congestion.

“It is important to remember that this is not just a “cycle lane”, as it has been described.  The scheme aims to provide better connections to key destinations such as schools, shopping and business areas, coastal attractions and railway stations.  It also includes improved crossing facilities and wider footways for people walking, and areas of greenery and seating to provide places for people to rest, socialise and enjoy being outside.

“The scheme includes physically segregated cycling tracks, as seen in the Netherlands and increasingly in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Exeter, Cambridge, and other towns and cities in the UK.  Evidence shows that these are the most important thing we can do to promote cycle use.  They give people the confidence to cycle and dramatically increase the numbers of people cycling.  This is a bold scheme which has the potential to transform and interconnect communities that for a long time have been separated by the dual carriageway.

“We estimate that about 40,000 people live within 1km of the proposed scheme, along with three secondary schools (King Ethelbert School, Ursuline College, Hartsdown Academy) with a combined total of 2300 students, many of whom could cycle to school.  The route is the shortest and fastest way of travelling by bike between Birchington, Westgate, Garlinge, Westbrook and Margate.  It also links to the Viking Coastal Trail and the National Cycle Network for longer journeys and for leisure and recreational journeys.

“Kent County Council is best placed to comment on the impact on traffic flows, but in our opinion the A28 Canterbury Road does not function well as a two-lane dual carriageway because capacity is limited by the single carriageway sections either side and by on-street parking which effectively reduces it to single lane.  It would be better to re-allocate some of the road space for walking and cycling for the reasons explained above.

“We would ask local people to think about the many benefits of the proposal and to make up their own minds before responding to the public consultation.”

The consultation closes on October 25.

Find more detail in the  Consultation Brochure  or  visit  and share your views.

Your views wanted on county council proposal for Birchington to Margate cycle route


  1. As someone who lives in Birchington and regularly cycles to Margate, I would never use this. Whenever I want to do a nice circular route, I simply cycle along the coast, and then come back past Hartsdown Park, through Garling, and along the path to Somali Farm.

    A far better idea would be to make it easier for people to cycle from Margate to Westwood Cross, perhaps building a cycle path along the side of Nash Lane.

  2. The coastal cycle route from Birchington to Margate is not suitable for regular use, particularly for travel to work, as cycling is actually forbidden along the parts where there are beach huts. This is a major problem particularly in the summer, but could be at any time of the year.

    • Depends what time you travel to work, as there are no restrictions before 10am (and none at anytime from 1st October to 30th April). When it is busy and/or there are restrictions, I simply cycle in the road.

      Do you think this scheme is a good solution?

  3. Much as I like cycling, I can see this project encouraging even more motor traffic off Birchington’s stretch of Canterbury Road and down King Edward, Quex View and Park Avenue. These narrow roads are already having to cope with motorists rat-running down them in order to avoid road humps in Acol. As a result, the drivers backing out of their driveways have to keep their eyes skinned for the young lunatics who see this residential area as a racing track.

  4. I think anything that keeps cyclists safe has got to be a good thing. I’ve not ridden a bike since my school days but I do think it’s far too dangerous for them to ride on main roads or on the footpaths.

    • It is actually illegal to cycle on footpaths unless it is specifically designated as a cycle or shared use path. Not that the police enforce it these days (as a kid in the 70s they’d even stop cyclists on the road to check that the tires weren’t worn and the brakes were working properly).

      • It’s also illegal to drive your car on the pavement, but that doesn’t seem to stop motorists from doing it.
        This whole scheme seems to be a green wash box ticking exercise. “Let’s create a cycle lane or two – but on no account upset motorists”
        We are in a climate crisis, driven not least by emissions from motor vehicles.
        I’ve got a better idea: let’s spend billions on a super cycle network. If there’s any change left, stick in a vehicle lane here and there. You know, one where you have to give way at every junction, that disappears at difficult moments, that’s frequently obstructed by bike stands and other street furniture. You know, much like cycle lanes are at the moment.

        • Andrew, most real cyclist (those who use them several times per week) will confirm that the majority of cycle paths around here aren’t fit for purpose. There are exceptions though: it was a nightmare cycling from Richborough to Sandwich back in the 80s, now there are lovely wide paths each side of the road.

        • All depends if you buy into the climate crisis hysteria, i don’t. However moving away from a reliance on fossil fuels is hardly a bad thing, but the headlong plunge into a world reliant on windmills is daft. The economy will not work based on cycling being an important form of transport, its largely a leisure and fitness activity. Not that many short journeys couldn’t be replaced by bikes, but most people won’t.
          Nuclear is currently the only low carbon relible way of providing baseload at present, but we’ve left it very late to push ff aside.

          • I don’t think there is any “hysteria” about climate change, as it is undeniably happening and intensifying.

            Private cars should be banned in general, in my opinion, and public transport very much improved.

          • Its not hysteria its rational anxiety. Climate change is real and could mean our demise. We are already relying in ‘windmills’ i.e wind-generators for about 40% of our energy. Even the Tory government wants to make this much more. People in other countries cycle to work – its not leisure. Nuclear as no-carbon is an illusion, as you have to factor in the enormous amounts of energy used to construct plants – concrete is a major CO2 producer; plus the energy needed to permanently bury radioactive waste for 20K years.

  5. For once I agree with the councillor cycle along the seafront but cycle not race. There are to many Bradley Wiggins wannabes about, all bikes should have a bell fitted

    • “Not that many short journeys couldn’t be replaced by bikes, but most people won’t.”
      And that is one of the root causes if the problem. We are wedded to our cars. Besotted with them and in thrall to them.

      • People are not wedded to their cars, they are wedded to convenience , minimum effort and the notion that they alone are important and that the world needs to pander to their needs and wants.

  6. KCC have polluted the promenade at the Westcliff Ramsgate with what appears to be racetrack markings and these are generally viewed as an eyesore, uneccessary and potentially an accident waiting to happen. I’m a cyclist and really think this is uneccessary too. It will inevitably case traffic issues along the dual carriageway bit to Westgate. How can this be prevented? Will anyone listen to protests anyway??

    • Manstoner please fill in consultation questionnaire (even though it is biased in favour of the madcap scheme) it will give local Kent county councillors more chance of stopping it.

  7. This is just a totally wrong road to put a non-segregated cycle lane. May as well have a cycle lane on the M25!

  8. Nice, bout time hate cycling that route as it’s too dangerous in the roads and the pavements aren’t wide enough for both pedestrian and cyclist. I cycle this route frequently on deliveries and this would make my rounds so much safer.

  9. Madness! The main road into Westgate and Margate with two schools next to one another. I have no words. Sack whoever thought of this. There are hardly any cyclists on the current cycle lane we have already.

    • Utter madness indeed!! They should focus on creating cycle lanes that go past our large secondary schools so that young people can bike to school safely and help remove the 100’s of parent taxis from our roads at busy times…if only they were proposing a cycle route past where 1000’s of children went to and from on weekdays, that would be a great idea.

  10. I’m sure that if people saved up and worked hard they could buy themselves a car instead of having to go around on a bike.

    • Nobody “has to” go around on a bike. The damage caused by cars is vast, but car drivers won’t accept the facts.

  11. I ride a mile to and from work 5 days a week and frequently have cars pull out or overtake then turn left in my path forcing sharp braking by myself. The car drivers mentality is just to overtake. I also drive a car and a work vehicle. The cycle lanes between Ramsgate and Sandwich are poorly maintained as are ones in Thanet. The cycle lanes along the promenade between Westgate and Birchington are covered in seaweed and debris from rough seas and you wouldn’t want to use them in high seas.
    The Canterbury rd is often one lane anyway because of parked cars so there wouldn’t be much difference and might be better without people switching lanes.

    • I simply cycle in the middle of the lane when narrow, as the Highway Code advises. Frustrates the hell out of motorists, but I’d rather put my own safety first thank you very much.

  12. I should be in favour of this scheme, but am not. Is it a solution looking for a problem? What cycle use do people actually need and want, is the way to start. I suspect KCC have a £!M to spend on ‘Green’ and don’t know what to do with it. People do not generally cycle into Thanet. Would it help residents along this route use their bikes rather than their cars? Have the cycling organisations locally been consulted at an early stage? The danger is that the narrowing of this fast highway would dangerously increase pressure on car traffic, so more accidents. Also there might be hostility to innocent cyclists which can be very ugly. Far better to spend on upgrading cycleways in the towns, and on pedestrianisation. There is already a cycle route into Margate along the coast , Sustrans 15,(has anyone asked them?) but as noted you have to dismount often. Looping pathways around these points would be far cheaper. This is yet another example of the need for democratic public participation before spending.

    • Along Tankerton promenade (between Herne Bay and Whitstable) they used to have similar summer rules to Thanet, but then they changed this to the far more sensible “Please Dismount When Busy” or words to that effect. I’ve been out cycling on Thanet promenades on days like today when no-one else is around, yet still seen jobsworths outside chalets telling me to push my bike; yet there are cyclists on busy pavements everywhere that go unchallenged.

      • I used to cycle home from work along the promenades and got so fed up with being told to dismount when the area was empty that I ended up going along the A28 instead.

      • It’s not a matter of empty or busy or not, there’s a clue in the name – if I’m on the promenade I expect to be able to promenade without having to look out for cyclists or others who can’t be bothered to walk.
        My young grand children should be able to move and play freely between the sand and the promenade without fear of being hit by a bicycle, don’t you think?

        • Blue Fox, the clue is in the word “empty”. Neither myself or Tanet are condoning cycling on promenades when busy.

  13. An utterly stupid idea. It is a major thoroughfare from Margate to Birchington for visitors and residents alike. They should be putting double yellow lines along the dual lane part on both sides to prevent cars blocking a carriage way thus making it a single lane road. That would increase traffic flow and ease the congestion that is caused.

  14. Please note , the first picture in the article which is supposed to show how wonderful this scheme, is ,not only does not show reallity. One car only on the busy A28 dual carriageway, but its also has no bus in the bus stop. Look closely and if there was a bus , passengers leaving the bus would step onto the cycle lane causing carnage

  15. I think the council should think about how much traffic chaos not only at the present time at Westwood cross and Westwood rd at pick up time from start George’s primary school. This is about to get horrifically worse when all the new housing is completed. No objection to housing but YOU have to install adequate roads to accommodate the growth in traffic not being done !!!!!! Now stroke units have moved from QeQm there is no adequate roads to canterbury hospital, let alone Ashford!!!!!! iWork at canterbury takes me 55 mins to get there on a good day ! The roads need to not only sorted out but repaired. If you want commerce and business to get better put in decent roads .. ps don’t tell me to get a bus at now 58 quid a month and a device that doesn’t provide a full bus service ( loads of cancellations they want to increase the price . Erh no because I still haven’t had a pay rise unlike the lovely 7 percent MP’s have had .

  16. How many people are going to use it considering the demographics of Birchington with The highest elderly population in Thanet, who are unlikely to be cycling into Margate, we already have a cycle path along the cliff top, also what happens to the permanent Parker’s of King Ethelbert, and Ursuline school. As a tax payer I expect to see our money used more wisely perhaps on some services for the young people

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