Folkestone County Councillors Tim Prater and Rolund Tolputt have gained agreement from Kent County Council for an interactive "slow down" sign on Sandgate Hill on the approach to the junction with Coolinge Lane.
The two Councillors have submitted a joint bid to reduce traffic speeds descending the hill towards the junction, which is especially busy at peak times with children going to the nearby Folkestone School for Girls and Sandgate Primary School. However, they had previously been told that an interactive sign was "against policy" as it did not meet the County Council's criteria of being near a change speed limit.
At site meeting on Wednesday they and Sandgate Parish Councillor Zoe Varian met with David Hall, Kent Highways Head of Transport and Development, who agreed that as Sandgate Hill is a busy section of the A259 with 3 schools close by the sign could be justified. He recommended to Nick Chard, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways that an interactive bend sign with "slow down" on Sandgate Hill to the east of Coolinge Lane would be acceptable, and this has now been agreed.
A full scheme including the sign, which will be paid for jointly by Cllr Prater and Tolputt from their Members Highway Fund allocation, will now be agreed and implemented. Each County Councillor has been allocated £25,000 Members Highways Fund for road / highways schemes in their area for each of the next two years.
Tim Prater commented:
"I'm really pleased to have been working together positively with Sandgate Parish Council and Rolund Tolputt on this scheme, and that we have now got agreement for a sign that I hope will make a positive difference. The response this week of David Hall and Nick Chard to get this moving has been both quick and positive - I'd like to thank them both.
"At school starting and ending times, this junction has lots of school children, buses, traffic and other pedestrians and difficult crossing points. Traffic coming down Sandgate Hill is gaining speed and coming round a corner. We're lucky there haven't been many more accidents there, but no-one wanted to continue to trust to luck.
"The sign itself is unlikely to be a full answer, but as the huge majority of road users are considerate, I hope it will act as a useful reminder and slow people as they approach this junction. We are continuing talks with Kent Highways on a full scheme to sort more of the problems of crossing at this junction, but that is likely to be expensive and some years away. We needed action faster than that - and I'm pleased that we seem to be getting it.
"I'd also like to say thank you to Cllr Zoe Varian and all those who have been involved with the Sandgate Transport Action Group for their work on getting this issue moved forward. Without everyone working together, I suspect we would be waiting for improvements for a very long time."