Driv­ers ig­nor­ing peak-time ban on vil­lage roads

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Natalie Tip­ping ntip­ping@thek­m­group.co.uk @ntip­pingKM

Months after a traf­fic reg­u­la­tion was put in place, vil­lagers have branded it a frus­trat­ing fail­ure.

For com­muters us­ing the A249 to get into Maid­stone or to join the M20 junc­tion 7, de­lays are part of the morn­ing rou­tine.

Un­for­tu­nately for peo­ple liv­ing in Detling vil­lage, peo­ple us­ing the side roads to skip the reg­u­lar peak-time hold-ups is also part of the norm.

Driv­ers may not be aware there is a traf­fic reg­u­la­tion or­der in place, pro­hibit­ing ve­hi­cles driv­ing on roads through the vil­lage be­tween 7am and 9.30am, ex­cept for ac­cess.

This or­der is in place on Pil­grims Way from its junc­tion with The Street to its junc­tion with Thurn­ham Lane, and on The Street, from its junc­tion with the A249 to its junc­tion with Church Lane.

Last week, Po­lice Com­mu­nity Sup­port Of­fi­cer (PCSO) Matt Adling­ton spent two morn­ings in the vil­lage, stop­ping driv­ers to ad­vise them of the traf­fic or­der. Com­muters found to be flout­ing the rules could face a fixed penalty no­tice or a fine. PCSO Adling­ton stopped about 100 driv­ers each day.

John Wat­son, who has lived in Detling for 16 years, says vil­lagers are get­ting in­creas­ingly frus­trated at the num­ber of peo­ple us­ing their res­i­den­tial streets as a rat run.

He said: “It doesn’t af­fect me per­son­ally in terms of where I live, be­cause I don’t live on The Street, but it af­fects me when I’m try­ing to get any­where in the morn­ing. It’s not just the ir­ri­ta­tion and the time spent wait­ing to get out of the vil­lage, it’s that peo­ple are driv­ing so ir­re­spon­si­bly. They speed straight through and they’re only in­ter­ested in cut­ting 30 sec­onds off their jour­ney.

“The signs have made ab­so­lutely no dif­fer­ence, you still get 500 to 700 cars com­ing through, peo­ple don’t take any no­tice of the signs. I think it’s only a mat­ter of time un­til there’s a se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent.”

Irene Bowie, chair­man of Detling Par­ish Coun­cil, said proper en­force­ment was key: “So far PCSO Adling­ton has been ed­u­cat­ing driv­ers about the re­stric­tions rather than hand­ing out penal­ties, and we think this is fair, but now a num­ber of driv­ers have been ed­u­cated and proper en­force­ment will be­gin soon, so hope­fully we’ll see an im­prove­ment for vil­lagers.”

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