I recently had the enclosed article published in the local press. It was aimed at creating debate by provoking discussion on an issue that lies at the heart of rural living- it worked! The responses from residents and local Parishes, including those not in my ward, has been overwhelming.
However, my words were only the beginning of the debate. Yes we need far more intervention by local authorities to re-align the way rural road usage is viewed in the 21st century; Yes we need a new debate about how increased development is altering the characteristics of our rural roads; Yes we definitely need more to be done in terms of traffic and speed controls.
What we also need however, is greater involvement and understanding from the very communities that live within rural settings and who are those concerned about the state of rural roads.
Traffic warning signs, and speed restrictions are a must- and to me the start of beginning to solve many rural road issues- such as speeding BUT they will not be the end.
In order to bring about real change and improvement to our rural roads we need far more involvement and input from those who themselves are often part of the problem- the residents.
Smeeth is a village that has a very effective “speedwatch” programme and finds that the vast majority of speeders are residents themselves!
The programme has been proved time and time again, to effectively reduce the speeding behaviour of road-users- who often do not realise that they are speeding, and to improve awareness of what effect this can have on others.
Smeeth is a great example of a proactive village community that is doing something about the issue and I support and welcome their activity.
We need other villages and communities to follow suit- to be the real meat- to the veg and potatoes – supplied by traffic warning signs and speed restrictions.
The Village Protection Policy that I have championed in Aldington and Bilsington, is now being prepared also for Smeeth and Brabourne, and is a perfect example of communities seeking solutions themselves to key rural challenges, and ensuring the characteristic of their rural area is preserved.
More info on the village protection Policy can be seen in my blog post of 9th January 2016 :http://janemartin.yourcllr.com/2016/01/09/village-protection-policy/
I will be working closely with Colleagues from other villages in the near future, and with KCC to look at ways in which we can gain abetter understanding into the barriers currently in place to reducing the speed limits in rural areas.