This week’s Kent and Sussex Courier runs a story “Imperative Town Has Park and Ride, p4” under a subheading of “Ex-highways chief says scheme key to breaking gridlock”. I read the text with interest – was this senior expert an officer or a member from Kent County Council’s Highways Committee? Who was the mysterious ‘senior ex-Highways Chief’ who like ‘Deep Throat’ in the Watergate scandal, was prepared to spill the beans on this critical issue?
Alas, it took me until the second column to find that this ex-Highways Supremo was none other than David Neve, who apparently chaired the long-defunct Highways Committee when the Liberal Democrats were in power – over a decade ago. And David’s pearls of wisdom regarding park and ride schemes? He says “…park and ride sites were needed at the north, east, west and possibly the south entrances to the town”. So that’s every entrance then? Genius.
The last bright idea for a Tunbridge Wells park ‘n’ ride on the North Farm Industrial Estate involved reopening Oak Road, closed off for years since a fatal car accident killed local children, and carving a new road across Colebrook Recreation Ground – the last useable area of green space on the estate. Thankfully, local residents joined me in the campaign and we managed to overturn that particular piece of senseless madness, turning the space into a hugely popular, valued and well-used Doorstep Green and kid’s play area.
Of course, everyone had their own ideas of how to clear the ‘gridlock’ – from park ‘n’ ride, to speed restrictions, to one way systems and more. Worse still, over the years most people seem to have tried out their proposed solutions for real.
Which is probably why Tunbridge Wells has ended up being gridlocked in the first place…