After several years of sustained pressure from Liberal Democrat councillors and local campaigners, Kent County Council have confirmed that the long-awaited pedestrian crossing at Barming Heath in Maidstone will be installed next year. The confirmation was provided in response to a formal question posed by Dan Daley at last week's County Council meeting.
Currently people trying to cross Fountain Lane often have to dash through streams of traffic on this busy road. The risks are clear, especially for those with young children and those with mobility issues. The new pedestrian crossing facility will make this much safer. The crossing will be paid for by developer contributions accumulated from new housing built in the area.
Dan Daley welcomed the news. "This is a very welcome development. Local residents and campaigners have been pushing for this facility for many years. I am delighted that at long last we have a safe crossing in prospect."
Dan Daley's question and the answer received are set out below.
Question by Dan Daley to Mike Whiting, Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport & Waste
"For several years now there have been concerns about the safety of pedestrians trying to cross Fountain Lane opposite Barming Heath in Maidstone from St Andrews Road to Heath Road and vice-versa. The B246 is already a very busy road and is getting busier with all the additional development in the area. Unfortunately, the phasing of the traffic lights does not provide sufficient time for the less mobile or people with buggies and small children to cross in safety. We have had many discussions with Highways officers on this matter over the years and it has been long agreed that there is a clear need for a pedestrian activated phase at the traffic lights. This has been recognised in the Section 106 developer contribution agreements.
Could the Cabinet Member confirm that this matter will now be treated as a high priority by Kent Highways and will he provide a date when the pedestrian crossing will be installed?"
"Following a meeting in relation to progressing a junction improvement scheme at the A26 Tonbridge Road Maidstone at its junction with Fountain Lane, the Senior Project Manager from the Major Capital Programme Team has committed to delivering the pedestrian crossing facility at the Fountain Lane, Heath Road/St Andrews Road junction as quickly as possible, and has given assurance it will be constructed in early 2020."