Highsted Road, Sittingbourne proposed footway - report on the results from the public consultation exercise
The Schemes Project Manager introduced the report which summarised previous investigations and development work on proposals to install a footway on Highsted Road between its junctions with Farm Crescent and Swanstree Avenue, Sittingbourne. The report also summarised the results of a public consultation on four options, and it sought a recommendation from the JTB on any further actions.
The Schemes Project Manager explained that it was not possible to have two-way traffic, plus a footpath, as the road was too narrow. There was an option to make the road one-way either southbound (Option 1), northbound (Option 2), or closure to all traffic except bicycles (Option 3), with pedestrians using the route as well. He explained that the designs had been done, with consultation carried out in December 2018 – January 2019. The summary of results were included in the appendix to the report. There was not an over-riding consensus on any individual option, and so it had been difficult to make a recommendation, other than no further action to be taken.
Members raised the following points:
· Disappointed with the recommendation;
· disappointed that report focussed just on providing a footpath;
· there was heavy traffic in the area as the road served two schools and a hospital;
· heavy lorries and agricultural vehicles clogged up the road;
· Option 1 was preferred;
· a footpath was needed;
· HGVs should not be using the road;
· traffic flow needed to be considered;
· if nothing was done, the issues would get worse;
· road safety issues for the children using this route;
· would like KCC to go back to the school and re-negotiate, this is what residents wanted;
· there would be an accident here without a footpath;
· surprised nothing more is to be done, which did not reflect the consultation results;
· something needed to be done;
· preferred Option 1, together with speaking to the school again;
· there was clearly a desire not to leave this as is; and
· the option for no change was not supported by the majority in the consultation.
Visiting adjacent Ward Members made the following points: disappointed with the report, a lot of residents used Highsted Road, and road users were often unaware of the pedestrians on the road; this was within KCC’s remit to sort out; and there needed to be a pathway so that the road was safe for pedestrians and road users.
Kent County Councillor John Wright proposed: That Option 1 be implemented. This was seconded by the Chairman.
The Senior Schemes Programme Manager explained that a steer was needed from the Board and that the recommendation was based on no majority preference of the options.
The Proposer explained that the issue was also about inappropriate parking, with traffic grinding to a halt, and to minimise this, the road needed to be closed-off, which would help residents in Highsted Road. He added that Option 1 was still the preferred option, but did not want a footpath that was unsafe.
A Ward Member explained that he would like to support Option 1, but this was about providing a footpath. Residents had stated that acquiring land either to the east or west of the road was their preferred option. He suggested that further talks be had with the school.
(1) That Option 1 be the preferred way forward, and that KCC look at other options as well.