Widening welcome but 50 years overdue
It’s mid-July and already tempers are frayed over the closure of Kennington Road, Willesborough for its longoverdue ‘widening’. Due for completion in the first week of September 2017, many have described their annoyance and inconvenience at sitting in gridlocked traffic which is being diverted to undertake the works between Blackwall Road North, Willesborough and the Givaudan site. There is also a huge capacity of traffic using the town centre itself as the diversion with others joining the M20 at junction 9 coastbound and exiting at junction 10 to continue their journey. When Batchelors Foods opened in 1957, the substantial factory site had its own rail sidings, hence their incoming and outgoing deliveries went on the railway, utilising rail containers known as Palvan’s. Proprietary Perfumes (now Givaudan) came along in the early 1960s.
When the rail infrastructure at this key Ashford site was phased out it is then that Kent County Council should have upgraded this road, together with its notorious pinch-point to accommodate the ever- increasing number of vehicles on the road. This would have been sensible rather than make the town wait over 50 years, during which time new roads linking Kennington Road such as the M20 have been built. Despite the professionalism of the contractor tasked with the road widening works, scores of residents and readers have questioned whether the road will still be wide enough. One local resident felt that land should have been compulsorily purchased to move the footpath over, and also widen the bridge to straighten the road out.
Whilst there are mixed views and opinions as to whether the widening will significantly improve the issues at Kennington Road, I am quietly confident that any improvement is better than none – provided it doesn’t inconvenience the people of Ashford for much longer.
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