Anger as traffic brings Tunbridge Wells to a standstill again

Profile image for kentsussex

By kentsussex | Thursday, January 03, 2013, 12:18

Yesterday was the first day back at work for many after the Christmas break - and most in Tunbridge Wells spent it caught up in traffic.

Anger bubbled over as it seemed like all main routes through the town were gridlocked from 2pm onwards.

Drivers posted about their annoyance on Twitter, with Mark Howden (@HowdenMark) saying he's abandonded his vehicle at North Farm and walking back to Rusthall.

We've picked out a couple of the tweets here, but we could have filled an entire gallery with the messages being directed at Kent Highways!



  • Profile image for johndn

    I appears that I was misinformed, and that the widely circulated report which reached my and others' ears about a fatal accident was wrong. I thank the police for clarify this. However, they go on to say there were "a couple of minor collisions, but nothing more serious than that". They then say, "it appears North Farm was primarily congested due to shoppers and it being the first day back at work for many."

    But, in fact, we you think about it, this makes the situation even more unacceptable, to residents, businesses and visitors alike! Taking the last point first, people going back to work is a norm and should not in itself cause the full extent of the congestion and delays experienced. Especially if it was "many" going back to work, as opposed to all. Also, those "shoppers" would be doing so elsewhere than North Farm, and be merely travelling into and out of Tunbridge Wells, and trying to find a suitable route for that purpose. I am also left wondering what effect those "minor collisions" had, and if their cause was primarily the congestion in the first place. Chicken and egg? I note that the police make no mention of the Pembury Road roadworks. Were they and KCC actively monitoring it, given all the circumstances of this known busy period? I very much doubt it.

    I feel that residents and businesses should be posing very serious questions to KCC councillors, KCC Highways AND the police. Given this well-known busy, post Xmas/New Year period, and the problems the police themselves state in their response on this website, how is it that they, and KCC, seem, on the face of it and from the results, to have failed to have made adequate (or any?) prior provision to have a significant presence to monitor and control traffic? The former by adjustment of the many traffic lights in the area, and the latter by having officers at key points to manually assist flows and speedily tackle those "minor incidents"? It seems to me, and perhaps to others, that our paid public servants have abdicated their responsibilities to local and elsewhere's taxpayers. Do they not consider that hands on traffic management at known peak periods is part of their job, for which they are highly paid by us? This, of course, also applies on a daily basis, at peak times, doesn't it?

    Therefore, given the severe effects on residents, businesses, commuters and visitors, and TW itself, isn't it high time we saw some effective, co-ordinated, planning AND ACTION, from KCC and the police? At ALL known peak times!

    By johndn at 07:57 on 05/01/13

  • Profile image for KentPolice_TW

    Kent Police would like to confirm that, contrary to rumours posted here, there was no fatal car collision in Tunbridge Wells on Wednesday afternoon.

    There was a great deal of traffic in the town on Wednesday, and a couple of minor collisions, but nothing more serious than that. It appears North Farm was primarily congested due to shoppers and it being the first day back at work for many.

    By KentPolice_TW at 14:55 on 04/01/13

  • Profile image for johndn

    Before everyone gets really wound up about what happened on Wednesday afternoon and early evening, I understand that there was a fatal accident in North Farm Road, after 14.00. The police were examining the scene etc. In the "fragile" and already overloaded road network that we have in the three main northerly exit routes, including Sandhurst Road and others leading to and from the town centre, it is not surprising that virtual gridlock was the result, as drivers sought to find alternative and back road routes. And, once the "circle" that is Longfield Road, Dowding Way and Lamberts road becomes clogged in both directions, then long delays are inevitable.

    I also understand that traffic lights at road works on the Pembury Road were not synchronised with the newish Blackhurst Road lights, causing more backlogs in both directions. I do believe that the police to KCC Highways should immediately report any "incident" and that the latter's officers should attend as a matter of urgency, to monitor and supervise traffic light operations, including those of any roadworks. Perhaps they should have already been monitoring those at Pembury Road?

    Whilst the Fountains car park, and its exits, is an obvious shambles that needs speedy fixing, much (most?) of the load along all three main northerly routes, including North farm, is through traffic. Therefore, people should not keep blaming TWBC. The current congestion is entirely due to past and current inaction and wrong traffic management by KCC cabinet and councillors, KCC Highways and central government in respect of the A21 which causes mainly northerly direction tail backs at North Farm.

    There are suspicions that an underlying factor is the reluctance of KCC to spend TW area's taxpayers' money on our area's roads. It is noted that much money has been spent on roads in the Maidstone, Thanet and North Kent areas, perhaps to the detriment of TW. We are, of course, a peripheral outpost of the Kent empire. Out of sight, out of mind, perhaps? And, furthermore, much of our traffic is to and from Sussex, who do not contribute a penny to our roads. Over the years there has been very little liaison and integration between the two county councils and their highways officers. Whilst our current TW council, under the excellent leadership of Bob Atwood and David Jukes, together with their similar cabinets, has initiated more liaisons with KCC (and Sussex), it is obvious that far more needs to be done.

    Concerned residents, including the late, excellent John Goodfellow, have been passing on their and others' concerns for a significant number of years to both borough and county councillors and officers and Greg Clark but have met with little effective response and action from KCC. They identified all of the areas requiring action and proposed solutions, many of which appear to have been now recognised by KCC. The time for talk is past - we now need urgent action on all fronts. Residents AND businesses in ALL parts of Tunbridge Wells are suffering!

    By johndn at 11:14 on 04/01/13

  • Profile image for susandawn

    Yet again spent half an hour trying to exit the Fountains Retail Park car park. How could this car park be so badly designed. The exit run up is too narrow. You can only get two cars side by side at the actual exit. Surely it would have been possible when designed to have the run up to the exit two car widths enabling traffic wishing to exit left to drive out without getting into a queue with drivers trying to exit right. Those turning right have to cross into a line of backed up traffic and therefore have more trouble exiting. I find it hard to believe Kent highways could not have foreseen this problem as it is basic logic. Myself and many other friends are now only visiting the North Farm estate as a necessity and finding other options if possible. This must be affecting the stores on this estate. Also, the workers in the businesses must find the daily treck to work very fraught.

    By susandawn at 19:55 on 03/01/13

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