Monday, 11 January 2010


A 'Strife' team member attended a meeting on Saturday last, in St Andrews Church Hall, Reading Street, Broadstairs called by residents fed up with traffic hurtling through their village.

Here is his report.

Cllr Crispin Crotty, Conservative, Beacon Ward came under fire from a very irate female resident following his short address to the meeting. Here is what led up to her outburst.

A hundred residents had made their way cautiously along un-gritted roads and ice-covered pavements to the church hall to voice their concerns over the continuous traffic dangers in the narrow village streets. A thriving community with its church, post-office and pub and two schools close by, Reading Street has been the scene of damaged property, wrecked cars, near misses from cars mounting the pavement, cyclists upended and recently, an elderly pedestrian taken to hospital having been knocked off her feet by a car whose driver claimed he'd 'only being doing 10mph'. As the front of the car was seriously damaged, some doubt was cast on the alleged speed.

One resident has had her garden wall demolished SEVEN times in four years by speeding vehicles and HGVs. (see the picture below!)

Many residents gave accounts of how they saw the problem and the possible solutions. Some graphic accounts were heard and one speaker criticised The Planning Department and Committee at TDC for allowing more development without taking into account the resulting increased traffic. There is no continuous pavement and in places the pavement is at the same level as the road thereby giving no protection to pedestrians.

Dr Stephen Ladyman M.P.spoke from the floor saying what he would now do, who he would speak to and how he saw the situation could be dealt with. So what caused the anger from the fur-hatted female resident?

Cllr Crotty, the only elected Conservative Councillor present ( his fellow Beacon Ward Conservative Councillor, Cllr Lawson, is on extended winter holiday ,in Gibraltar, not Panama and neither Conservative KCC Councillor attended) said he 'would try to speak to the relevant people'.

"I'm disgusted with you" said irate female resident. "I want action not words". Round of applause from the audience. As one member of the audience said, "I thought Cllr Crotty was going to burst into tears."

Could it be that Cllr Crotty hasn't faced an angry public meeting before or did he assume that being in a Conservative stronghold he could fob off the locals with empty promises?

(Ed: Although a South Thanet Ward, it is interesting that here we have yet more traditional 'conservatives' unhappy with the lack of representation and support from their Conservative Ward Councillor. Why on earth did he not call in his Conservative KCC colleagues to attend? Highways are a KCC responsibility after all!)


Ken Tishman said...

As someone who used to travel to work through Reading Street,I defy anyone to 'hurtle through'.I found it a very slow, careful drive, pulling in places to let other cars pass coming the other way. I also popped into the shop to buy a morning paper too. I seem to remember, in days gone past,a garage selling petrol, so it must have been even busier at one point.If residents want the village to die and lose its shop then by all means stop the traffic.

Jenny Matterface said...

As the person who criticised the planning department for allowing more development without due regard to the traffic issue perhaps I can add to your reporter's accurate account?

One speaker said he wanted to leave the meeting feeling something would be done rather than it be a meeting where there was talk but no follow-through.

The residents voted unanimously to call for a 20 mph speed limit and to set up a strategy group to look at what could be done. As those present included a professional town planner, a draughtsman, a retired highways engineer, a former county councillor who served on the county's Highways Group the group formed itself and would report back with a viable scheme. It was reported at the meeting, I think by Dr. Ladyman, that county councillors have community funding that can be used for local projects so perhaps either or both the county councillors could chip in to help their electorate fund a scheme.

The person whose wall had been knocked down for the seventh time said Kent Highways had said nothing would be done until there was a fatality. A near-miss doesn't count. How appalling is that? Having come within inches of having my family wiped out whilst on the footpath by a driver too impatient to wait a few seconds for a clear route through I can assure Kent Highways that to wait any longer is not good enough. We need action now.

Anonymous said...

I do know that the meeting was called at very short notice and there were many apologies, but unfortunately these were not read out.

On the otherhand, hopefully something will now be done about the amount of unsuitable traffic going through my wonderful village.

Although Cllr Crotty seemed very weak (shame Cllr Lawson wasn't there as he is totally different), don't think this should be made into a political issue. This is certainly not what the residents want, although there is one particular Labour Supporter (is it true she wants to be the next councillor) who was definitely trying to make it so.

Jenny Matterface said...

Dear Ken Tishman,

I think the crucial phrase is 'used to travel to work'and you don't say when that was. The garage shut up shop twenty years ago and for the last few years of its operation only did general car repairs, not petrol sales.

One speaker quoted how youngsters can't wait to pass their tests to enable them to drive down Reading Street at 70mph.

There has been a huge change in the area in the last few years with more houses being built in the area and the relocation of St. Peter's School to nearby Grange Road. There are more children being driven to the area from other areas to both Callis Grange and St. Peter's so that, depending where they live, they may well access the school via Reading Street.

Car ownership has grown exponentially in the last decade or two so there are more vehicles on the roads than in years gone by. HGVs are getting bigger as well and those using car sat-navs use the road as a short cut.

To Anon. 11.00. Yes, I stood for KCC in 2009 but there is no way I tried to make the meeting on Saturday 'political'. My children and I nearly got killed when an impatient driver mounted the pavement at speed inches from us when we walked down Reading Street past the former Club Union site. He( and it was a 'he') couldn't wait the few seconds it would have taken to allow another vehicle to pass us all safely.

As far as my political career. Who knows whether that is the case as it's up to the local party to make that decision. Perhaps you feel aggrieved that I was asked by some people for advice as to who to ask to be present officially at the meeting. I was, in fact, the person who contacted Cllr. Crotty and asked him to come as he hadn't been formally invited.