Members on the Thanet Joint Transportation Board have approved the making of a traffic regulation order for 20mph zones on 42 roads in the Salmestone and Dane Valley areas of Margate but raised concerns over how it will be funded.
The scheme will encompass residential roads including those outside Salmestone, Drapers Mills and St Gregory’s schools and roads off from Victoria traffic lights – not inclusive of Star Lane and College Road between Ramsgate Road and St Peters Road. Part of the zone covers the Hornby model factory and museum area.
Salmestone Residents’ Association carried out an informal consultation in 2019 which showed 94% of respondents in favour of the 20mph speed limit.
County Councillor Barry Lewis requested the scheme and gained an ‘in principle’ agreement last year.
Surveys were undertaken in a sample of roads in September 2021 and these showed the average speed of drivers was already low at around 24mph.
The 20mph proposal was advertised during July and August this year with consultation resulting in 66 responses: 35 in support and 31 against. Some of those against the idea said it would cause congestion, wasn’t needed and would be wasting money. There were also concerns that the speed limit would be ignored and not enforced.
The scheme will cost some £17,000 to implement – that figure is revised from an original document stating a £50,000 cost.
Joint Transportation Board members from Thanet council discussed the issue yesterday (December 13) but were concerned that documents stated there has been no identified funding.
Cllr Phil Fellows said he understood Cllr Lewis would be using his county council member’s grant but questioned whether this would be enough and whether those grants have even been confirmed for next year.
Meeting chairperson Cllr Ros Binks, who also serves on the county council, said: “It covers a huge amount of the Margate area. It’s an area where most speed surveys show that it’s only viable because most people are doing about 24/25mph anyway, The cost is £17,000, which is quite cheap considering how big the area is that it covers.”
She said she was not opposed to the scheme but added: “There’s no funding for it, no funding from KCC (Kent County Council) and I suspect not enough funding from one member’s grant.
“To me this is a waste of time because without funding, it’s going nowhere.”
Cllr Harry Scobie said he would like the scheme backed as it “sets a tone for the rest of Thanet.”
He added: “I think it’s the way forward.”
Councillors recommended the TRO for the speed limit be made as advertised, pending confirmed identification of funding for the signs and road markings within the statutory 24 month period. The vote was four in favour and three against with the committee noting those against had voted that way because of the funding issue.
Cllr Barry Lewis, who was unable to attend the meeting, said of the decision: “It has taken over three years to get this through KCC and I am delighted road safety is now a priority for the council.”
He said he was confident government funding earmarked for road safety would be found to install the scheme.