When is a crossing not a crossing?

    Tonbridge High Street

    There are still teething problems over the design and impact on traffic flow a month after the completion of the Tonbridge High Street improvements, say residents.

    The £2.65million scheme has been broadly welcomed by businesses for its long-term benefits, but the removal of a road crossing sparked a reaction on social media.

    Other questions have been raised over new loading bays, which some believe require clearer labelling as drivers are allegedly illegally parking in these areas, possibly without realising.

    In one social media post, resident Sean Jordan questioned if the raised platform halfway down the High Street had been created as a shared space, with drivers obliged to stop for pedestrians.

    In response, Thom Morris, spokesman for Kent County Council, said: “The red surfacing area of carriageway in the High Street is not a shared space.

    “A shared space means there are no formal footways or carriageways and there are no priorities.

    “The raised table is an informal crossing point for pedestrians. Vehicles still have the right of way on the carriageway and there are footways either side.

    “The raised table with red surfacing is designed to slow vehicles down and highlight to the driver that there are likely to be pedestrians wishing to cross and for them to take extra care.”

    On parking enforcement, Robert Styles, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council’s Director of Street Scene, Leisure and Technical Services, said: “As the loading bays and widened pavements have now been in place for several weeks, we have withdrawn the warnings and now issue penalty charge notices in all cases, which should improve accessibility for vehicles wishing to load and unload as well as traffic movements along the High Street.”

    Sharon Tringham, Manager of Christ Church Café in the High Street, also has concerns.

    She said: “With the five new loading bays now in the High Street, cars are getting stuck behind buses as they are unable to pass by them when they are stationary.

    “Buses are now barely able to get down in both directions at the same time, so it is just a mess.”