From one petrol head to an­other: We’re on right road

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - by Sarah Mar­shall smar­shall@thek­m­group.co.uk

AND the award for the most amus­ing speech goes to... Cllr Paul Carter, leader of Kent County Coun­cil!

The KCC chief took to the podium at Nor­ton Knatch­bull school’s prize-giv­ing evening on Fri­day to praise pupils’ achieve­ments.

But he also seized the op­por­tu­nity to take a friendly pop at Jeremy Clark­son, who crit­i­cised Ash­ford’s shared space scheme in his col­umn in The Sun the pre­vi­ous Satur­day.

Cllr Carter read out the Top Gear pre­sen­ter’s ar­ti­cle, much to the amuse­ment of the boys.

And he won sup­port from some of the par­ents (see Let­ters, pages 10-11).

In his ar­ti­cle, Mr Clark­son warned of the “dance of death” faced by peo­ple us­ing the shared space scheme, which is the re­worked area that in­cludes El­wick Road, Bank Street, West Street and Forge Lane, where bar­ri­ers and sig­nals have been re­moved and traf­fic and pedes­tri­ans share the same space.

Mr Clark­son, who de­clined our re­quest for an in­ter­view, wrote in The Sun: “Do­ing away with lights and pel­i­can cross­ings is a bit like do­ing away with bolts in scaf­fold­ing on a build­ing site in the hope labour­ers walk around a bit more care­fully.”

Ex­plain­ing his speech at the Ash­ford boys’ gram­mar school, Cllr Carter said: “I was talk­ing up the ring road and say­ing what a brave and bold scheme it is, which is looking re­ally good.

“The op­er­a­tional part will come when we’ve built the other roads, which are part of the whole con­cept.”

Cllr Carter and Mr Clark­son may have op­pos­ing opin­ions when it comes to the shared space scheme, but they are both car lovers.

“I’m a self-con­fessed petrol head and race cars as a hobby at week­ends all round Europe,” the Tory coun­cil leader said.

Cllr Carter, who in a com­ment in last week’s Ken­tish Ex­press in­vited Mr Clark­son to visit Ash­ford, also has an­other idea for his fel­low motoring fan.

“I’ve got a very cun­ning plan that I want to talk to him about.

“It in­volves run­ning on his show a re­ally good project that I think would be right up his street.

“I’m go­ing to tempt him down to Kent and get him to have a look.”

Cllr Carter would not re­veal any more of his idea or say whether or not it in­volved Ash­ford.

“It’s a wacky scheme that I think would fit their pro­gramme very well and is very en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, that’s all I will say.”

Pre­sen­ter Jeremy Clark­son and KCC leader Cllr Paul Carter

Ash­ford artist Cathy Streeter with her cow en­grav­ings and the grill where the sound comes from. Be­low, for­mer Beaver Road res­i­dent Harold Hall, whose mem­o­ries are in­cluded Main pic­ture by Paul Amos pd1514293; inset pic­ture Cpl Steve Wood

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