Minster-on-Sea Parish Councillor John Stanford, Vice-Chairman of the Planning and Transportation Committee met with concerned, local resident Mr David Brown at Elm Lane this week to see for himself the serious risks presented by the current 60 mph speed limit and voice his support of the Parish Councils’ campaign for a reduction to a 20 mph with ‘Quiet Lane’ status which would be more fitting in one of the Minster’s remaining rural country lanes.
Mr Brown alleged that since Kent Highway Services resurfaced Elm Lane recently, the speed of the vehicles has significantly increased to an unacceptable level. He is convinced that with Elm Lane being so popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders, it is only a matter of time before somebody is seriously injured or even killed due to the lane being used as a rat run by drivers travelling at excessive speeds from the A2500 Lower Road and Chequers Road ends. Mr Brown believes the problem will worsen as the building of sixty houses at ‘The Slips’ progresses at the end of Elm Lane adding more cars to the failing road infrastructure. He spoke about his family’s sadness at the death of his wife’s pony three years ago which is alleged to have been caused by an accident in the lane. Although no prosecutions were made, a major cause of the accident is alleged to have been the existing speed limit and limited visibility which continues to be a problem particularly during the mornings and evenings due to the position of the sun. He believes the existing speed limit means Elm Lane presents as a real danger and he has serious concerns that unless action is taken now another death or serious injury will occur. To mitigate these risks, Mr Brown is suggesting that as well as reducing the speed limit to 20 mph, other safeguards like signage to indicate the presence of ‘Horses’ etc are needed because the lack of bridle paths in the area forces horse riders into the lane.
Councillor John Stanford said Minster-on-Sea Parish Council fully supports Mr Brown’s position. He said: “In view of the fact that we have graphic evidence of how dangerous this particular lane is, exacerbated by the increased use of the school run from places like the rapidly expanding Thistle Hill Estate, a reduction in speed has to be the priority. Having inspected the route, it is clear that it has a number of blind spots including one by Boarers Farm and an absence of signs indicating the sharp corners particularly at the east end next to Little Wootten’s Farm. Flooding from the nearby ditches also presents risks because it seriously reduces a vehicle’s stopping distance. With at least three equestrian establishments located along this route, one of which must cross the road to get to its grazing, there is a real danger that someone will be injured or at worst killed. There is also a wellused public footpath feeding into this route with walkers now telling us they no longer feel safe because of their fears about drivers travelling at excessive speed”.
Although the Parish Council is in the process of applying to Kent Highway Services for ‘Quiet Lane’ status for Elm Lane and its position has been supported by the Swale Joint Transportation Board, it is publicly calling on Kent Highways Services as the responsible organisation to act now to address the above risks. It also wants to alert the public to the dangers and asks drivers to travel safely and reduce their speeds. It asks everyone to support this campaign for a safer route.