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.
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:
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
A group of residents along The Mall wrote to the Society seeking our support for a zebra crossing point to enable primary and secondary school children and others to safely cross at this busy road junction. With further housing development south of Watling Street (the A2) there will be a marked increase in the numbers crossing the road there. We are aware that traffic moves swiftly around the corner and rarely stops for pedestrians. The junction is complex with traffic coming from three directions.
The Society strongly supports efforts to improve pedestrian safety and to make Faversham more walkable. We support the aims of 20's Plenty to slow traffic and make the town more pedestrian and cycle-friendly. We support the 200 who signed a petition to KCC to install an appropriate crossing and urge KCC to install a zebra crossing before someone is injured or killed.
The Society hopes that the proposed Neighbourhood Plan will address some of these issues, and produce guidelines for how residents can engage to develop solutions and have them implemented. The Society broadly supports all community initiatives to develop solutions; residents are generally those most knowledgable about the issues and most likely to be impacted by proposed changes.
Tim Stonor has assisted the group in putting together a design of what a potential crossing might look like.
Planning guidelines for developers:
Facing up to the transport issues
Over the last two years, members of the Faversham Society have observed with increasing concern the proposals for road layout and traffic management submitted by developers in their planning applications for residential developments in the area, and their likely impact on the level of road traffic congestion, noise and pollution. Many of these have been approved by the County Council as the highway authority responsible for roads in the affected area. At its meeting on 20 November, the Society’s Board endorsed the following recommendations drafted by a team drawn from the Faversham Future Forum for consideration by the County Council.
|1||Vehicular traffic generated by a new development should not erode the environment, threaten people’s safety, or worsen congestion. Since small traffic increases can have a disproportionate effect on a congested network, the impact should be assessed not in isolation but in conjunction with other schemes approved or under consideration.
|Relevant to 'The value of good design', Section 1.6 Movements and Connections, and ‘Creating the Design’, Section 2.1.2: Movement Appraisal.|
|2||To prevent 'enclaves' of isolated housing, the layout should incorporate road and footway connections to neighbouring developments, and allow for connections to future developments around the perimeter.
|‘Creating the Design’, Section 2. 2: Generating the layout|
|3||By means of a comprehensive, joined-up network incorporating routes for buses, pedestrians and cyclists, the development should allow and indeed encourage residents to use modes of travel other than the car. The network should provide safe crossings not only within the perimeter but across potential barriers around the periphery such as busy traffic routes and rail lines.
|‘Creating the Design’, Section 2.3: Designing for movement|
|4||Residential roads should be configured with a design speed of 20 mph. Compliance should be encouraged with imaginative design rather than mandatory signs and road markings.
|‘Creating the Design’, Section 2. 2: Generating the layout|
|5||Developers should assess the impact of the traffic generated by the proposed development on the levels of exhaust pollution and other particulate emissions over the wider network, and adopt measures for mitigating any negative effects. No development should be permitted to add to pollution on the wider network in places where existing levels are at or above the safe limits recognised by the World Health Organisation and the European Union.||‘Making It Happen’, Section on Sustainable Solutions|
Faversham Society Board of Trustees, 28 November 2018
It is often said that a high-speed limit allows fast-moving vehicles to stir up the air and disperse exhaust pollution. This doesn’t work in urban areas. Wherever roads are congested, traffic movement is continually interrupted by vehicles turning in and out of side roads, stopping at pedestrian crossings, or parking at the side of the road. If they can, drivers will move quickly from one obstruction to the next, and stop abruptly when forced to do so. Each stop is followed by a period of acceleration, which injects a burst of fuel into the engine that results in additional pollution.
It’s all about smoothing the traffic flow. If the speed limit is lowered to 20 mph, drivers don’t need to accelerate as much after each blockage to restore their original cruising speed, so the fuel emissions are reduced. In addition, when moving at 20 mph, a driver can more easily anticipate blockages and slow down in advance so the deceleration-acceleration cycle is less pronounced and wastes less fuel. This was confirmed many years ago by research in Germany that showed that when the speed limit in a built-up area was reduced from 50kmh (31mph) to 30kmh (19mph), drivers saved fuel and emissions fell (Newman and Kenworthy 1992, 39 –40).
By contrast, traffic calming measures can increase pollution. For example, road humps force drivers to slow down to a very low speed. Afterwards, they accelerate again, and in the process, generate emissions that could have been avoided if they had continued at a more modest but steady speed. So it’s important to distinguish between physical measures on the one hand (which don’t help in terms of exhaust emissions) and 20 mph speed limits (which do).
For these reasons, in its policy document NG70, the UK National Institute for Public Health and Care Excellence NICE recommends 20 mph limits to reduce speeds in urban areas where average speeds are already low (below around 24 mph).
NEWMAN, P AND KENWORTHY, J, with ROBINSON, L (1992) Winning back the cities. Pluto Press.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH AND CARE EXCELLENCE (NICE) (2017) Air pollution: outdoor air quality and health. NICE guideline NG70. Available for downloading from https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng70
Chris Wright on behalf of the Faversham Society
04 August 2018
There is additional information online from other organizations
Rod King (20’s Plenty Chair and founder) the Independent Daily Edition, citing research by NGO Global Action Plan.
A report of the meeting held on 07 October 2016 in the Assembly Rooms
The purpose of the meeting was to bring to the attention of our members the Kent County Council’s recently published Local Transport Plan LTP4 and to seek their views on transport problems in the Town as an aid to formulating the Society’s response to the Plan. It was organised by members of the Environment Committee and chaired by Hilary Whelan.
Around 50 people attended the meeting, including the organisers and committee members. All were invited to complete a questionnaire on their travel habits (the results have not yet been analysed). The meeting began with a video showing an interview recorded in 2013 with Arthur Percival, in which he described how the Society had previously campaigned against the KCC plan to build a ring road in the Town. There followed a break-out session in which attendees jotted down their concerns about transport in Faversham today on ‘post-it’ notes, and Brenda Chester read some of them out. Then Chris Wright gave a presentation summarising the contents of the current plan and its implications for the Town. The key points are set out in the Appendix to this report. There followed a lively discussion.
An analysis of the post-it notes revealed two stark conclusions. First, those who attended the meeting want to make life easier for the motorist. I divided the subject matter into a handful of main categories (road improvements, parking, cycling & walking, environment, planning, and ‘other’) and it was striking how the largest number of responses (about a quarter) fell into the category of road improvements. People were greatly exercised about Brenley Corner, the possibility of a new link to the M2, better parking facilities, and the conversion of busy streets into one-way working.
Second, our attendees were less concerned about environmental issues than I expected, in particular, how traffic growth might affect our medieval street frontage and the quality of the environment as a civilised place in which to walk about. Only one post-it note mentioned architectural heritage. It seems the Society will need to work hard to alert members to the dangers inherent in a Local Transport Plan that will do little to protect Faversham and towns like it for future generations.
In addition to the key points made during the presentation, the Appendix lists some suggestions that the Board might like to use as a starting point for the Society’s response to the KCC.
14 October 2016
Key points in Chris Wright’s presentation
Some suggested solutions
- lower speed limits (Twenty’s Plenty) to reduce (unintended) intimidation by moving vehicles through noise and accident risk that creates an atmosphere hostile to walkers
- working with schools to promote walking to school
- environmentally friendly cycle routes and pedestrian routes that encourage people to walk and cycle from outlying estates into the Town, with special attention to the pedestrian routes over the railway yard
- more effective parking enforcement to protect the street environment and to ensure that the regulations don’t fall into disrepute
- higher parking tariffs
- Park-and-Walk, Park-and-Cycle.
The Faversham Society is one of the largest civic societies in England, with over 1300 members. The Society is concerned about the growth of road traffic and its impact on our historic town, and has called on Kent County Council to develop a Road Traffic Strategy for Faversham.
Faversham is accessed by the M2 (junctions 6 and 7) and the A2. At the level of Faversham, the M2 has only 2 lanes and the A2 is a narrow single carriageway. The preferred route C for a new Thames crossing will put extreme pressure on the M2, which is already under strain. Junction 7 is at the limits of its capacity. There will also be pressure on the A2 as a diversionary route when there are problems on the motorway, as happens frequently. Extra traffic from the new crossing, on top of traffic growth from local developments, will have a damaging effect on traffic flows and congestion in and around Faversham, and on pollution levels. Parts of the A2 through Faversham already exceed permitted levels.
We also have concerns about the increase in freight traffic, since the M2 and A2 are not well-equipped for HGVs, and HGV parking in lay-bys and side roads is a serious problem. Currently, plans for lorry parks and Operation Stack facilities are focused on the M20 route, and there are no plans for the M2/A2 route.
In the consultation documents there is consideration of impact on the areas around the new crossing route, but we can see no impact assessments for the wider area. We would urge that impact assessments and mitigation are extended more widely, across the whole of the East Kent highway network, including the full length of the M2 and A2.
Submitted to KCC 09 Feb 2016
The Board of Trustees of the Faversham Society would like to comment on the proposed alterations at the junction of the A2 and A251 as follows.