Residents fed up with cars speeding through their village at up to 80mph turned out in force to raise their concerns with me. People in Nonington want average speed check cameras set up after five deaths along an eight mile stretch of road in just 20 months.
Dozens of villagers gathered in Dolphin's Hall on Friday, October 19, to ask for help from myself and Kent County Councillor Steve Manion. Residents told us they had collected data which showed more than 3,000 vehicles travel through Nonington every day – and nearly two-thirds flout the 30mph speed limit. Speeds above 65mph are regularly recorded – including a shocking 80mph one night at 11.30pm. Some of the highest speeds have been recorded at rush hour.
Residents fear the village is being used as a rat run, including by large lorries and delivery vans directed by sat-navs. The problem is made worse by the lack of footpaths, meaning people often have to walk in the road, including at blind corners. Three young people have died in recent months along the "lethal" stretch of road between Woodnesborough and Adisham Road in Barham, which runs through Nonington. In July there was a fatal crash in Snowdon in which an 18-year-old man died. In September an 18-year-old woman and a 27-year-old woman died in a crash in Womenswold.
A number of traffic calming options were discussed during the meeting – including pinch points, eye-catching warning signs designed by children, greater traffic police presence and introducing a 20mph limit. Yet the most popular suggestion was to set up average speed check cameras. They would be located just after the Mill Lane entrance to Nonington and leaving the village at the end of Holt Street. I told the residents I would contact Kent Highways and Kent Police and urge them to look into the viability of setting up cameras and request more traffic patrols in Nonington.
Nonington should be a peaceful place where people can walk with their family safely – not be in constant fear of speeding cars and crashes. Too many people have died along the stretch of road between Barham and Woodnesborough. It's no surprise residents are concerned a fatal accident could occur in the village. The strength of feeling was very clear at the meeting. The authorities need to seriously consider the proposals being put forward.
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