Residents and businesses in Margate’s New Street are appealing for action to tackle delivery drivers using the road as a rat run.
Old Town road closures mean more traffic is redirected via New Street and this is added to by delivery drivers using apps like Waze and MyRoute which recommend rat-runs to avoid lights and heavy traffic. Residents say New Street is then used by drivers instead of having to wait at the traffic lights in Cecil Square.
The cut through is badly lit in winter, has no pavements and is very narrow, resulting in some near misses including The Margate School boss Uwe Derksen being clipped by a vehicle which then failed to stop.
Lynda Inns has lived on New Street for more than 30 years and says she is regularly pinned against the wall, often while attempting to walk her dog Toto, while drivers thunder past.
Remo Minerva is another resident who regularly has guests staying at The New Inn. He says groups of 8 or more people may be exiting the house with children only to “be swept back into the door by a racing delivery driver.”
The New Street Bistro also inhabits a blind corner on New Street meaning customers are often buzzed by passing motorists.
Remo said: “Sometimes as many as 15 cars congregate outside McDonalds and KFC on Margate High Street waiting for the next click. They enter the area via New Street and are the new scourge of the High Street since the pandemic took hold in 2020.
“The explosion in food delivery is flooding our town centres with aggressive drivers racing towards the next click.
“Something has got to give on New Street and we fear a fatality. Will things have to go that far before the council or the Town Deal (board) spend some money where it is sorely needed?”
Residents are asking for pedestrianisation between 10am and 10pm. A suggestion has also been made to implement more loading bays. The residents’ group says this would allow New Street to flourish and make it a safe place to live and work.
Remo added: “We have an art school, antiques, restaurants and much-loved businesses like Mark Michaels and Paydens Pharmacy. Why have our needs not been addressed like the rest of the Old Town?
“We were all out chatting in the street when Uwe was clipped by the van, we all saw it happen and the funny thing is no one was surprised. The postman who happened to be on his round told us he is regularly clipped on New Street by passing traffic.
“The council must wake up to our plight and re-think this vital, vibrant and happy little town centre street.”
District councillor Rob Yates says he hopes Thanet council and Kent County Council will consider measures for New Street.
He said: “ Over the last few years there have been two areas within Margate’s shopping district which have been very dangerous for pedestrians. The first was King Street, where cars would race down the rat run road as quickly as possible, the second being New Street which is unusually narrow towards the end and the pavements there totally inadequate for safe pedestrian use.
“Since getting elected I am proud to say that the King Street rat run has now been blocked as part of a COVID/Pedestrianisation scheme, which I believe has worked well for Margate Old Town and although there are some businesses and residents who still have issues, I believe on the whole this scheme has produced benefits to the businesses and residents in the Old Town when it comes to increased footfall and safety.
“Unfortunately for the way the scheme was designed, there has been increased traffic onto New Street, this has also been exacerbated by increases to Deliveroo and JustEat deliveries over the pandemic who can often be seen idling their cars late at night on New Street, blocking the road whilst waiting for deliveries.
“I am hopeful that KCC and TDC traffic officers will look again at New Street to see if more can be done to improve the dangerous situations here that are occurring day by day. Perhaps using existing TDC parking spaces on the High Street as evening loading bays for delivery drivers is one idea that could reduce congestion.”
A Thanet council spokesperson said: “We have been in dialogue with a number of New Street residents, and intend to communicate with them directly on the possibility of trialling traffic measures on the street. Officers are working in collaboration with KCC Highways on plans to trial traffic measures in New Street, and time-limited pedestrianisation is something we can explore with them. All the measures need to be considered in the context of the wider area.
“Whilst parking on double yellow lines is an offence, drivers are given an observation period which is used to show the vehicle has been constantly observed and no activities witnessed such as loading or unloading. When officers arrive and undertake the observation period most people drive off and then return later, making enforcement extremely difficult. The Civil Enforcement Team will focus on New Street during evening shifts.”
A Kent County Council (KCC) spokesperson said: “On-street resident and limited-wait parking is generally the responsibility of the district council.
“As for pedestrianisation, we are happy to consider all requests for changes to roads and further information can be found at https://www.kent.gov.uk/roads-
Totally agree with new street residents only issue this was a rat run before road closures the delivery drivers go to KFC block the pavements as a disabled person getting past is diabolical when asked you get rude replays.The amount of times I sent photos to the KCC member for this devision no action what’s so ever photos to the ward councillor no action or reply.the 20mph limit doesn’t work I would like to see new street residents only. Traffic coming up new X street turn left only into Hawley street I see this on a daily basis.The aim is to stop cars crowding the old town area the top of the high street the drivers are for McDonalds.They go up there before 5pm that needs sorting out that’s where the problem has always been drivers going to KFC and McDonald’s.
Rob yates and myself have raised residents concerns over the last few months, plus your comments brian as the article makes clear:
Another big problem is in Bilton Square just to the side of KFC, has several businesses including art studios (Limbo and Crate), yoga studios and a children’s dance studio. The entrance/junction into Bilton Square is constantly being blocked by delivery drivers for KFC. At the moment it’s just a nuisance for the people that use or work there, but it’s a disaster waiting to happen if anyone in Bilton Square ever needs an ambulance or if there’s a fire, The emergency services wouldn’t be able to get there.
I hope this information helps you with raising the issue further.
TDC say they will contact the enforcement team but the enforcement team don’t like to work after 5pm and this is where the bigger picture is, driver’s know this so park anywhere, l have same problem driver’s know they can park on footpaths yellow lines and blocking roads because the enforcement team are not on duty.
Amazing work Remo and the group. Now lets keep up momentum and get the pedestrianisation done!
Good luck with that TDC are as tight as a ducks bum when it comes to spending money,
The whole High Street, New Street and Herbert Place (behind McDonalds) is a nightmare with cars parked on yellow lines continuously when these takeaway’s are open. They are speeding about dangerously and making it dangerous to walk past or cross the road. They are blocking up the roads and generally being a nuisance.
I was hit crossing the narrow junction of High Street and New Street only yesterday by a car that didn’t stop coming out the junction because it has the right of way. He sped off up the High Street and down towards the seafront. Luckily it was only a glancing blow on my side. He knew he had done it but didn’t stop, too much of a hurry. Why has right of way been given to New street into the High Street anyway? It doesn’t make sense having vehicles zooming out and into the main road without having to stop at the junction. Crazy KCC Highways planners at it again. They have made this junction dangerous. Something needs doing
Totally agree with you on the right of way issue. This should be put back how it used to be New Street vehicles to stop and give way and surely much more safer
Whilst i agree that the volume of traffic using New Street is totally unsuitable, the right of way into the high street is probably safer than the it being the other way round , as emerging from New Street it’s pretty much impossible to see what’s coming up the High Street. It would seem that someone from highways had actually visited.
However it’s a recipe for disaster and a more serious accident is only a matter ot time.
Margate High Street is a joke because of McDonalds delivery drivers. They park on the path forcing you to walk in the road and when you do they beep at you. They even park there on Sunday mornings and afternoons when the High street is closed to vehicles. Nothing is ever done and I’m sick of emailing KCC and TDC. As a wheelchair user it is now unaccessible for me.
McDonalds and KFC create problems wherever they are. The delivery drivers block the road and litter is everywhere with bins overflowing. These fast food places should be made responsible and fined heavily if they donot keep the roads clear and clean.
Surely bad parking and driving is purely down to the drivers involved ( unless actually owned by the fastfood company), litter is generated by the customers who choose not to dispose of the packaging properly , overflowing bins point to insufficent provision for the amount of waste generated.
The fixation on blaming the business rather than dealing with those actually responsible will fix nothing .
Why is the Old Town still closed ? Thats the cause .
Where is the inforcement team to issue tickets for parking on yellow lines 🤔 l will tell you at home when all this happens, you will be lucky if they work after 5pm ,look at all the parking fines which could make up the short fall in the council pot ,no TDC will keep putting up council tax to cover it ,shame on You TDC ,
There wouldn’t be any fines even if the officers were out, the drivers would just claim to loading or unloading and get away with it , you only have to look back at the parking/driving issues outside the westbrook tesco to see that there was no interest in enforcement.
Pedestrianasion doesn’t always work look at the disrespect for pedestrians at the top end of the high street after a long time researching who was responsible for the traffic it’s Kent police who enforce it on this occasion it’s not the responsibility of TDC PCSOs used to police the top end now the overpriced flats almost complete above KFC where do they park. As for the entrance to Bolton square that area has dropped kerbs as it’s against the law to park on them TDC can enforce the law reported that problem still waiting for reply traffic wardens turn a blind eye to delivery drivers.tdc are loosing revenue employ more up to when KFC and McDonald’s close in the evening.
If cars can’t be booked for parking on double yellows what is the point of them? Vehicle idling is a Fixed Penalty Offence under Road Traffic Regulations 2002. The environment crisis is real and present. This law should be used liberally to improve air quality for all in the area.
Pedestrianise the whole of Old Town including New St that’s what I say. Put these plantrs at the end of New St and let the businesses and residents enjoy the street.
Not only are we getting all of the delivery drivers and traffic that is redirected on Waze and Google maps to cut out the lights on Hawley St, we’re also getting all the traffic from the Market Sq car park that once used Lombard St. Why is Lombard St shut? Why is New St consistently left off of Old Town plans even though it’s part of the Old Town? Even though it is just as densely populated by both domestic and commercial property as the other streets which have been closed!
Something proactive has to happen the council has already set ideas to make this street one way … the WRONG way that won’t change matters its crazy that in all the parallel streets – Lombard st King st etc New street is the ONLY street that does not have proper pedestrian pavements and it has the most residential properties yet the streets that have proper pavements on BOTH sides of the street have been closed off. No matter how much we state the obvious we just get blinked at.
Everyone seems to want to talk but it isn’t followed by action!