Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Hazard at Hawkwell...

Only a couple of weekends ago, there was yet another accident on the bend at the top of Colts Hill, at Hawkwell Cottages. The residents of these half a dozen cottages really have to put up with so much - hardly a week goes by without them being woken in the early hours by lorries and cars apparently 'bouncing' off the high kerbs opposite their homes. Indeed, it's seems like only yesterday that a young mum died at the scene as a result of a head on collision on the same bend - a year on, and the accidents are still happening. To give them their due, Kent Highways moved quickly to arrange a traffic count - which at around 20,000 vehicles a day was a staggering number - and to trim overgrown foliage from speed signs. All of this helped, but didn't resolve the fundamental problem.

I arranged to visit the residents Monday before last at 8.30am, to see for myself the latest problem. The pile of bricks and rubble outside the middle property, where the latest crash occurred - still has the front of the latest vehicle sitting on top of it.

With me were Alex King, fellow Tunbridge Wells County Councillor and Deputy Leader of KCC; Geoff Harrison-Mee, Director of Kent Highway Services and David Bond, Transportation Manager.

The residents, despite their recent troubles, were remarkably patient and discussed with us the various options available to ensure that such accidents, as far as possible, didn't happen again.

It was resolved that Kent Highways Services will extend the current 40mph coverage from Colts Hill to the end of the Pembury bypass. To improve visibility the residents asked for a "gateway" to be installed (the large white 'picket fence' with a speed roundel mounted on it - see Five Oak Green or Pembury) and a flashing warning sign to slow traffic down.

Let's just hope that this combined package of measures will resolve the lunatic actions of speeding motorists and end the misery of the Hawkwell residents.

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