The traffic calming debacle in Fant needs to be set out properly so below is a timeline of events:
Sept 2008: Greens collect 346 signatures from residents on Bower Place, Upper Fant Road, Gatland Lane and Glebe Lane calling for less traffic and better safety on their roads.
Autumn 2008: Lib Dems hold a demo on Gatland Lane / Fant Lane at the junction where traffic calming / improvements were already planned to be implemented. (We welcome these plans and I'll be commenting on them in a future blog). (p.s. I have subsequently established that although the scheme there was on the long list, it hadn't yet been agreed for funding).
Dec 2008: Petition goes to Kent County Council and Maidstone Borough Council
28 Jan 2009: Petition discussed at Maidstone Transportation Board. The minutes state: "The Board considered the reference from Council regarding the petition received on the Fant Traffic Campaign. RESOLVED: That it was noted the Kent Highways Services had received the petition and that design work had started on a scheme and that consultation will take place in due course."
A fairly amazing response which seemed too good to be true so we waited for other evidence that KCC had acted quickly in response to the petition...
15 Apr 2009: Committee papers detailing agreed schemes includes on page 12 a mention a a new scheme for traffic calming in Fant under in Agenda Item 8 in "APPENDIX A. Integrated Transport Improvement Schemes for Maidstone Borough"
Then in Agenda Item 11: "Integrated Transport Programme for Maidstone 2009/10 and
beyond" (page 27)...
In case the writing is too small it says "Integrated Transport Schemes approved for implementation in 2009/10, Fant Traffic Calming £85,000: Speed Cushions on Bower Place, Upper Fant Road, Gatland Land and Glebe Lane and a crossing facility in vicinity of Bower Grove School to reduce vehicle speeds"
Jun 2009: I spoke with Ben Hilden, the engineer at KCC to clarify when the traffic calming scheme would commence. I was told that there were two schemes, one going to be implemented this year and one next year. He also said that Glebe Lane would not be included.
29 Jul 2009: The agenda papers for the Transportation Board (Agenda Item 11):
I spoke at the meeting to demand an explanation for the U turn by council and none was given. They claimed that previous reports were produced by mistake! None of the councillors, neither Lib Dem or Tory spoke to back the urgent need for action on the other three roads or to question why KCC had got it so wrong.
While I completely acknowledge that the Gatland Land / Fant Lane scheme was going ahead first, it looks to me like they have used the agreement for that scheme as a way of saying that they have met the demands of the petition. This is appalling spin to say the least and frankly I am quite disgusted.