Shared space ‘the way for­ward’ for other towns

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Thom Mor­ris tmor­ris@thek­m­group.co.uk

SHARED space de­signer Ben Hamil­ton-Bail­lie has said the scheme has “con­founded its crit­ics” and that Ed­in­burgh, Ox­ford and Black­pool are plan­ning to fol­low suit.

Fig­ures re­leased on the first an­niver­sary of the scheme’s in­tro­duc­tion on Ash­ford’s old ring road show there had been no in­juries to pedes­tri­ans or driv­ers in its first 12 months.

Ur­ban de­sign ex­pert Mr Hamil­ton-Bail­lie said: “While Ash­ford is one of the first in the UK to adopt the shared space ap­proach to ur­ban street plan­ning, it is a pop­u­lar sight on the con­ti­nent and the clear ev­i­dence there is that it is hugely suc­cess­ful in mak­ing streets safer for all road users. It is the way for­ward.”

Clean­ing

Ash­ford’s Joint Trans­porta­tion Board heard driv­ers have slashed their speeds from trav­el­ling at 30mph a year ago to an av­er­age of just 22mph now.

But the scheme has not been without its prob­lems. Break­ing the shared space’s “clut­ter-free” mantra, more signs had to be in­tro­duced to stop il­le­gal park­ing.

Clean­ing the £50,000 gran­ite cost more than £43,000 a year while con­ven­tional road clean­ing prod­ucts failed to clear away stains.

The £100,000 flume run­ning along the paving in Bank Street from the town cen­tre to El­wick Road also be­gan to leak. It was tem­po­rar­ily patched up.

Ju­dith Ar­mitt, manag­ing di­rec­tor of Ash­ford’s Fu­ture, was tasked with han­dling the com­pany’s £2.5 bil­lion bud­get to im­prove Ash­ford. She said the shared space scheme had ex­ceeded all ex­pec­ta­tions. She said: “It has made our town cen­tre at­trac­tive and ac­ces­si­ble, it’s play­ing a vi­tal role in un­lock­ing the de­velop- ment po­ten­tial of Ash­ford, and above all it has im­proved road safety.”

At least a dozen towns and cities across the UK are con­sider- ing re­design­ing their streets to look like Ash­ford’s £15.6 mil­lion scheme, in­clud­ing Ip­swich, Mac­cles­field, Torquay, Staines, Here­ford and Colch­ester.

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Shared space guru Ben Hamil­ton-Bail­lie on a visit to Ash­ford’s Bank Street

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