Cycle path scheme for Thanet ‘halted’ with county council needing to ‘go back to the drawing board’

Scheme proposal on A28 outside King Ethelbert School

By Local Democracy Reporter Ciaran Duggan

Plans for three new walking and cycling schemes in Kent have been halted – including one in Thanet.

Kent County Council’s (KCC) transport committee were divided over the next steps forward for the Active Travel proposals which aim is to encourage more environmentally-friendly outdoor journeys and promote health and wellbeing.

Under KCC’s £6.1million cash plans, schemes for Thanet, Gravesham and Folkestone have been ditched due to opposition from residents over road safety and tourism fears.

Nikola Floodgate, KCC’s schemes delivery manager, said: “We will need to go back to the drawing board for some of these ideas.”

Her comments were made during an online debate involving a panel of county councillors earlier today (January 18).

The Department for Transport has provided two tranches of active travel funding from 2020 to 2022. The first phase has seen the installation of temporary projects amid the pandemic, followed by a series of long-term schemes for permanent infrastructure.

KCC has been allocated around £8million since August 2020, including £6m in December 2020.

Proposal along The Grove

In Thanet, around 59% of consultees objected to a proposed cycle route between Birchington and Margate, near the Viking Coastal Trail, with around 30% in support.

Most of the scheme was proposed to run 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.

Cllr Barry Lewis

Margate county councillor Barry Lewis (Lab) said the 3.5mile stretch would have harmed the local tourism industry and created “rat runs” along roads across the district, such as Manston.

In today’s KCC online debate, he said: “Thank you for confirming the horrible scheme has been scrapped.”

He added: “I am proud to be part of the Thanet team that got this scheme defeated.”

Cllr Lewis, who says he is not opposed to cycle lanes but considered this route to be the wrong place, said the scheme would also have meant the loss of parking space and metering at those that remained.

In the future, elected members say the UK government must make changes to the way Active Travel is run, such as better communication and more time.

Cllr Mike Baldock, who sits on KCC’s transport committee, said: “There needs to be a better way of consulting councils before they go out with these funding opportunities.

“We have to make sure we are ready to respond and make sure they are relevant to what we are trying to do in the council areas.”

The Thanet scheme had been backed by Thanet’s Cycling Forum which said the aims were to provide better connections to key destinations such as schools, shopping and business areas, coastal attractions and railway stations as well as 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.

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.


    • I’m against it, and I’ve been cycling all over Thanet for 35 years (and still do). And yourself?

      Why would I want to cycle down a main road when we’ve quiter sea front roads and promenades?

      • Here here…I cycle to Minnis Bay from Palm Bay and apart from a bit by the golf course it’s all sea front views n fresh air….A28 no thanks

  1. Common sense reigns for once, I can’t believe that this scheme was even considered for the A28 between Birchington and Margate, thank you common sense.

  2. One news item boast how the police road safety team are out and about catching road law breakers
    Then this news that the KCC have scraped a plan to make the roads safer for cyclists, only a few days ago tragically a lady cyclist was Killed in an accident in Ramsgate. Kent roads already have well above the national average for accidents and deaths

  3. I believe most cyclists who responded to the public consultation had grave concerns about safety with this scheme due to being forced to ride their bikes next to speeding vehicles whizzing by on the A28 route between Birchington and Margate. They much preferred it to be along a quieter road next to the seafront but there was no other choice in the consultation. Also, passengers getting on buses would be put at risk of approaching cyclists as they crossed their path to get on the bus. Not a safety improvement at all!

  4. Well done Councillor Barry Lewis and the various community groups who campaigned to stop these rather dangerous proposals. It showed you “can beat City Hall” if you organize well and keep battling away!

  5. Please stop saying you can just cycle along the seafront when it’s not true. The promenade is closed in the summer for bicycles, it’s very bumpy and indirect. We need better cycling provision in Thanet, as at the moment our roads are dangerous to cyclists and we have issues with high air pollution.

    • Well said Rob, finally someone making sense. The seafront route is very much a leisure route and is not designed for commuting / to school / shopping cycling. It is also over crowded. We need to get far better provision for cycling across the whole of Thanet as it could contribute to so many improvements in health, pollution, congestion and general life style improvements for those who want to cycle and those who don’t want to. Its time for Thanet and Kent as a whole to catch up with the rest of the country.


  7. Are cycle lanes for people who wish to cycle or the idiots that go as fast as they can and think they should be in the tour de France. I suggest speed bumps and compulsory bells should be fitted.

    • Shared cycle/pedestrian paths are for those who go no faster than 5 mph. However, cyclists on proper cycle lanes can go as fast as they like (within road speed limits of course). I suggest you try cycling yourself.

      • Looking online, some recommend a maximum of 12 or 15 mph on shared paths, but I personally don’t like cycling at more than a fast walking pace unless on a road or proper cycle lane.

        • “Shared cycle/pedestrian paths are for those who go no faster than 5 mph.”
          Where does it say this?
          It’s almost impossible to cycle at 5 mph. It’s so slow you’d be wobbling all over the place, and be a hazard to those round you.

          • It is my opinion, no more, no less. Pavements are IMO for pedestrains, and anything else on them whether it be bicycles or disability scooters shouldn’t go any faster.

            Agreed, 5mph is difficult without stabilisers. That’s why I prefer roads or proper cycle lanes rather than shared paths.

            Do you cycle on shared paths Phyllis?

      • Peter as usual you assume to much I do ride a bike with a bell at a leisurely pace, I find it highly annoying when boy racers zoom along especially the sea wall to Reculver. Speed bumps along there wouldn’t go amiss.

  8. Who are the Thanet Cycling Forum? Who do they represent and how does on get in-touch with them? I am a keen cyclist, living in Acol, and they have zero visibility to me. There is already adequate cycling provision from Birchington to Margate. There is much higher need for safe cycling/ pedestrian infrastructure to link with the main routes from rural areas like Acol.

  9. The existing cycle paths need urgent refreshing, especially the shared paths! Most pedestrians don’t even know they are walking on a shared cycle/pedestrian path because the white lines or cycle logo are so worn out, and often get angry if they hear a bell behind them when they are walking on the bike bit!

    • The other problem with this is that half of the cycle/pedestrian paths are so badly overgrown that people (like myself, I am a wheelchair user) are unable to use the pathway as it is meant. Again cyclist’s come racing up behind us and do not make us aware they are there until they go past us on the road or path and shout abuse because ‘we were in their way’ I would be much happier if ALL cyclist were to be made to use a bell to let pedestrians know that there is a bike approaching and people can then take the nesessary action.

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