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Chaos as council attempts to install £250k Spanish-style plaza amid traffic meltdown | UK | News UK News

A council’s plans to install a £250,000 Spanish-style plaza has encountered furious local resistance, with residents fearing a potential meltdown on the roads.

Hundreds of people have signed a petition against a pedestrianisation scheme in Herne Bay, Kent, driven by Kent County Council.

The scheme has seen officials close off a stretch of the bay’s seafront to cars, resulting in a one-way system that residents have complained is too difficult to navigate.

The council will soon step its plans up a notch, with the area due to become a plaza already resurfaced, and preparations underway to implement a 20mph speed zone.

The decision-making process has infuriated locals, more than 1,000 of whom have signed a petition calling for the council to drop the controversial project.

A petition posted to in December 2023 states residents’ objections to the “complex route” caused by shutting off access to the central parade.

Sallyann Baxter, who launched the campaign on December 22, said she had “recently had a near-miss with an impatient driver who was unwilling to navigate the complex route back to the seafront” from the main stretch.

Ms Baxter claimed the incident was “not isolated” and added that it “reflects a larger problem with our current road system”.

She continued: “The new layout around our newly formed plaza has resulted in traffic congestion on our high street and is discouraging visitors from coming to our area.”

“This goes against Kent County Council’s initial plan of encouraging tourism.”

Hundreds of people agree with her, as 1,113 Herne Bay residents have signed her petitions.

Some are even more furious than Ms Baxter, who has called on the council to “rethink this road layout”, with others calling on the council to remove the plaza altogether.

Janet Farbrace, 73, who has lived in the town for more than 50 years, complained the scheme appeared as if it had “been pushed through by people who don’t live or work in our town”.

She said locals hope that councillors “removes this ridiculous plaza”, as representatives say people just need time to get used to new arrangements.

Dan Watkins, a Conservative city councillor and representative for Greenhill, said: “I recognise that people have got concerns and, of course, when you change the flow of traffic it will take weeks or even a few months for people to get used to the new arrangements.

“Maybe we can, once the scheme has settled down a bit, see what people think. Then maybe we can ask for some changes to the way the new one-way system works, but I wouldn’t want to be premature about it.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-05 19:56:00

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