At the June Hollingbourne Parish Council Meeting it was decided to include an item on the Agenda each month to consider traffic and speeding through the village on the B2149/C603 which is narrow in places and in particular in the Upper Street and Eyhorne street Conservation Areas. Today an another accident occurred in Upper Street and a wall was damaged and last week a parked car was hit in Eyhorne Street.
Despite a solar powered reactive speed sign opposite Godfrey House which was purchased using Hollingbourne Fete proceeds some years ago, and speed signs at both ends of the village, motorists continue to speed through the village and there have been minor accidents from time to time plus one fatality involving Sid Wratten in Eyhorne Street some 30 years ago. Sid was a long term resident of Eyhorne Street and was at one time a local builder and undertaker.
Hollingbourne PCSO Daniel Genn has used a speed gun in the village from time to time an a Speedwatch initiative using village volunteers has been considered.
An informal traffic survey done on 26th June between 7am and 9am recorded a vehicle driving down the village towards the A20 on an average of every 24 seconds. A survey of the traffic today in the opposite direction between 4pm and 6pm showed a vehicle every 9 seconds. In September 2018 the Parish Council funded a seven day traffic survey by Kent County Council and the details were passed back to our local KCC Councillor Shellina Prendergast.
There have also been complaints to the Parish Council about parking in Upper Street and particularly on Sundays.
Hollingbourne Parish Council has had concerns that recent housing developments in the village would lead to more traffic especially in the Eyhorne Street Conservation Area which is effectively single track when cars are parked on the northside because of the lack of parking elsewhere. Both Maidstone Borough Council and Kent County Council appear to have rejected these worries out of hand. The situation is likely to become worse for a number of reasons including the following:
* The redevelopment of the M2/A249 interchange means that some traffic will seek an alternative route across the North Downs to the A20/M20 and much of it will pass through Hollingbourne.
* Construction of further houses in Hollingbourne will increase the traffic in and out of the village and the potential loss of the Village Shop and Post Office will not help as residents will have to go at least three miles to Bearsted or Harrietsham to do any shopping.
* The daytime use of the Hollingbourne Village Hall by the Harrietsham Pre School from September may mean that large numbers of cars will come into the village from the A20 and seek to turn right against the flow of morning commuter traffic by the Windmill Lane Junction where Eyhorne Street is narrow and where there are frequent disputes between drivers. There is also no “drive in” for passing vehicles at the end of Windmill Lane which is actually only a Public Footpath (KH199).
* The start of Operation Brock when the M20 from Hollingbourne to Ashford is used for storing 2000 lorries after the UK leaves the Customs Union when Brexit happens. This may cause tailbacks from Junction 8 if the experiences of Operation Stack in 2015 are to be repeated. Local MP Helen Whately has been requested to ask the Conservative Leadership Candidates Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt when precisely the barrier on the London bound side from Junction 9 to Junction 8 will be removed. No answer is currently available.
Both the local KCC Councillor Shellina Prendergast and the local MBC Councillor Patrik Garten have been kept informed about the traffic concerns of local residents.
Pictured below (top) is today’s accident in Upper Street and (bottom) is Eyhorne Street during Operation Stack in 2015.