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A2/A251 junction improvement

The junction of A251 with Watling Street is a focal point in the townscape that serves many purposes, not just as a vehicular traffic link but also a gateway to a medieval Town, a crossing point for pedestrians and cyclists, a streetscape for local residents, and a passageway to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the south.

Now that walking and cycling are being enthusiastically promoted by the government, the Kent County Council, the Swale Borough Council and the Town Council, the A251 junction improvement scheme is an important opportunity to begin re-shaping the Town’s traffic circulation system to

reflect the changing nature of travel during the next decade.  The emerging Neighbourhood Plan aims to encourage active travel rather than car dependency to protect the Town’s medieval road network and built heritage during a period of intensive housing development.  The junction improvement scheme should recognize and actively reinforce the objectives of the Neighbourhood Plan together with the recently introduced Twenty’s Plenty initiative.

Watling Street itself will change character as the Town expands southwards, generating a new demand for short trips linking housing estates to the south with the Town centre to the north. 

Currently there are only two designated crossing places along the whole of the 2.5 kilometre length lying within the Town boundary, creating in our view an unacceptable degree of severance in a Town of this nature.  The junction improvement scheme should not merely focus on vehicular traffic, but form part of an integrated mobility plan that incorporates meaningful pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, supporting the changing role of Watling Street as a spine for local movement, a streetscape asset, an environmental corridor and an arena that encourages and rewards active travel.  

Junction design

The proposed junction is essentially aimed at vehicular traffic capacity, with few facilities for pedestrians and none for cyclists.  As illustrated in Figure 1 below, the design could be improved to include:

  • infrastructure for cycling (cycle lanes, advanced stop lines (ASLs) and/or an active travel ‘scramble’ phase for pedestrians and cycles,
  • pedestrian crossings on all arms, not just one, with wider footways,
  • a 20mph speed limit through the junction to protect pedestrians and cyclists,
  • a landscaping strategy to blend the design into the natural landscape of Faversham including a public art strategy to emphasise its importance as gateway into the town,
  • Junction design geometry that creates a sense of place, specifically stop lines and crossings at 90 degrees to each other
  • Sympathetic lighting and minimal poles, with lighting and signalling integrated,
  • no white hatching (unused space can be used instead for planting and/or public art.

As it stands, the Faversham Society cannot support the proposed design.  We believe there is potential for much more to be achieved at this site, and we warmly invite officers and representatives of the County Council to engage in discussions with our team about alternative possibilities that meet the aims and objectives of the emerging Neighbourhood Plan.

Tim Stonor, Chris Wright on behalf of the Trustees 1 September 2020

Full text of the letter fro the Society to KCC

Application No:16/508602/OUT

Revised Details Land at Preston Fields, Salters Lane, Faversham, Kent, ME13 8YD

The Faversham Society has some serious generic concerns about the impacts of development south of the A2 on connectivity, safety and congestion. We request that Swale Planners pay particular attention to the road, pedestrian and cycle linkages between developments south of the A2 and the town.

We are particularly concerned that the drawings include a roundabout at the A251/A2 junction an idea about which the Society has serious concerns.

The A2 is rapidly evolving into a residential street in the middle of a town, not a road along the outside of it. This needs to be recognised in individual site plans and in the next SBC development plan. Planning for the new developments south of the A2 needs to recognise the long-term plans for a 20 mph zone across the town

There is a danger that the Preston Fields development will establish precedents which others will follow. In our view that would be very undesirable.

We need to see pedestrian and cycle infrastructure as well as vehicle infrastructure. We want to see light-controlled pedestrian crossings particularly around the periods when school children are going to and from school

There needs to be a footpath along the south side of the A2 and a two-way cycle path on the north side of the A2

The Society wants KCC to develop a plan for the London Road and Canterbury Road that anticipates the full transport needs of Faversham - pedestrian and cycling transport - not just the needs of vehicles.

It seems that the plans to re-route ZF5 are likely to be debated again shortly and that the Society will be invoked in support of one side or another.

The Society's position has not changed. The Society has not considered the revised plans. We do not have sufficient information to discuss the plans and to  support or oppose the proposal.

The Faversham Society was surprised to find itself invoked as a supporter of the ZF5 footpath proposals at the KCC panel enquiry on 22 February. While one of our Trustees gave evidence at an earlier enquiry in 2014, this should not be interpreted as endorsement from the Society as a whole. Our position on the current proposals was published on 15 February, prior to the enquiry, on this blog.

"It has come to our attention that the Faversham Society is being quoted as supporting the plans for the revision and reinstatement of footpath ZF5. The Society has not considered the revised  plans, we neither support nor oppose the proposal there having been insufficient time for the Society to consider the latest proposal."

It has come to our attention that the Faversham Society is being quoted as supporting the plans for the revision and reinstatement of footpath Footpath ZF5. The Society has not considered the revised  plans, we neither support nor oppose the proposal there having been insufficient time for the Society to consider the latest proposal.

Registered Charity  Number 1135262 - Company No 07112241
The Faversham Society - Registered Address: 10-13 Preston Street, Faversham, Kent ME13 8NS
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