Saturday, September 30, 2006

Speeding Traffic on Station Road

For many of years local residents have been raising the problem of speeding traffic on Station Road and this issue was raised more than any other during our recent door-to-door survey in the area.

The problem was discussed at a recent meeting of Aylesford Parish Council and we have also held several meetings with the leadership of T&MBC to try and find a solution. The most important people, however, are the local residents. Your input is vital as the wishes of the local community must be taken into consideration before any decisions are made.

In reality, traditional “traffic calming” measures such as speed bumps or chicanes are not practical for Station Road due to the nature of the road and volume of traffic. The constant noise due to larger vehicles moving in low gear, along with added pollution caused by a slower moving traffic, would probably cause as many problems as they solved.

There are, however, several other options we could consider:

(i) Speed Cameras
The deployment of new speed cameras has recently been curtailed following government guidelines, and new units are only being installed on roads where there have been fatalities due to speeding. However, the government is reviewing this policy and it might be an option we can explore. On the negative side, motorists soon learn of their location and are able to slow down before the camera and then speed up again once they have passed.

(ii) Electronic Speed Indicator Displays (SIDs)
These are sensors that measure the speed of passing traffic then illuminate a “slow down” message when a speeding vehicle is identified. They are often a popular measure with residents but their effectiveness can be limited as many of the worst speeders simply ignore the warnings.

(iii) Increased Use of Police Speed Traps
Mobile “radar traps”, run by the police or other suitably qualified people, have been used before and can be effective as motorists are not expecting to see them. However, with limited resources the police cannot afford to mount regular operations and bad habits soon return.

As you can see, each suggestion has it’s good and bad points, and it may be that a combination of the above might be needed in the short term to tackle the problem.
Aylesford Conservatives are keen to work with the local Parish, Borough and County Councils, police AND local residents to try and find a solution.

Before we go any further we would like to hear YOUR views on the best way forward. We have just written to all households on Station Road, Robson Drive, Trewin Close, Heathcote Close and Sedley Close to set out the options and ask for feedback.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Refuse Collection - good news.

Several residents have contacted us about the introduction of the green recycling bins and new refuse collection guidelines. People are concerned how the new system will work, and these concerns have been exacerbated by the hot summer months leading to rotting food that not only smells foul but also attracts flies and maggots.

We have been speaking to environmental health officials about the problem, and we hope the following information will assist in future:

The most important thing to remember is food waste can be placed in either bin.

Many people seem to think that food waste has to go in the traditional black bin and will only be emptied once a fortnight. This is not so. You can dispose of food in whichever bin is next to be emptied. However, if you are placing food waste in the green bin, please wrap it in paper not plastic. We are pressing T&MBC to supply households, at cost price, with bio-degradable paper sacks (like you used to get in supermarkets) as these will be far easier to use when disposing of food than wrapping it in paper. As soon as a decision is made we will let you know.

We have also been informed that a larger black bin can be supplied to households of 6 or more people. In such cases a baby, or child in nappies, counts as two people.

Some households have commented that they compost their green waste and take their glass and newspaper to local recycling points, and they therefore have no use for a green bin. If this applies to you, simply contact the council and they will take the green bin away. You will still be able to dispose of green waste in a traditional sack - but leave the sack open so the collection teams can see what it contains.

Finally, in response to the many residents who have asked us about recycling plastics. Good news ! Up to now, T&MBC has not offered this facility as they were unable to find a contractor who would guarentee the waste would be recycled properly. However, this problem has now been overcome and we are pleased to report that 8 recycling points will now accept plastics. It is hoped to increase this facility over time as the contractor increases capacity.

Further information on safe disposal of rubbish and prevention of bad smells and maggots can be obtained from the T&MBC website (CLICK HERE) or from the waste disposal helpline on 01732 876146 or by email: Thank you.

Friday, September 15, 2006

PREMIER PARADE PLANNING VICTORY - all credit to the residents, not the politicians !

We congratulate residents from Greenacres Estate on there unprecedented success at convincing a Planning Inspector to refuse permission for another fast food take-away at Premier Parade.

The decision has made Planning Case Law and can now be used by other community groups fighting similar cases throughout the country.

The households in this area already suffer with cooking smells, litter, traffic noise and anti-social behaviour. They were rightly concerned that another take-away would add to the problems that already blight their neighbourhood.

The campaign and petition against the proposal came from within the local community and all credit for the success must go to the local team of residents, organised by Dave Smith of Rowan Close (pictured above) who co-ordinated the campaign.

We are disappointed to hear that local LibDem and Labour politicians are trying to claim credit for the outcome. Jonathan Shaw MP has even featured it on his website!

One of the reasons politicians are viewed suspiciously is the way they try and claim credit for other people's hard work. The Premier Parade campaign is a case in point. The local community campaigned to safeguard their environment - and they won. It is they who deserve the credit and we congratulate them of their success."

Medway Court

Medway Court is a housing development off Station Road on the right hand side between the railway crossing and the bridge in Aylesford Village.

During our recent survey in the area, a number of residents commented that access to and from their road was difficult due to cars queuing at the railway crossing and blocking the junction (see picture above) thus preventing cars leaving Medway Court from turning right.

Obviously this would not be a problem if people showed a bit more consideration and did not park across the road junction, but we all know that common sense is sadly lacking these days !

Local Conservatives immediately contacted County Councillor, Keith Ferrin, who is the Cabinet Member responsible for Highways at KCC. We also spoke to T&MBC leader, Mark Worrall, to seek his support.

We are pleased to report that a site meeting has now been arranged and we are hopeful that our proposals for "yellow hatchings" across Station Road, along with a "Keep Clear" sign, will be agreed.

We have already written to residents of Medway Court with a progress report and will do so again once we know the outcome of the site meeting and discussions.

If you have any comments about these proposals, please phone John Balcombe on 01622 718175.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

WATCH OUT....there's a Tory about !

Threatening rain clouds and the Tour of Britain Cycle Race were not enough to deter the Aylesford Action Team from our work on Saturday 2nd September.

Twelve local Conservatives, led by John Balcombe and Dave Smith, hit the streets of Aylesford with our 2006 Resident's Survey. We visited 500 homes to ask your views on a variety of local and national issues. Postal questionnaires, along with a FREEPOST reply envelope, where left at those households who were not at home, or too busy to participate, when we called.

The Action Team were joined by local T&MBC Councillors, Roger Dalton, Dave Davis and Peter Homewood, who were able to offer residents practical help and advice on a whole range of issues, including planning problems, speeding traffic, street lighting, dumped rubbish and much else besides.

We would like to thank the many residents who took the time to participate in our survey. All the problems and suggestions raised will be investigated, and either Dave Smith or John Balcombe will contact you with a reply in the next few weeks.
Printed and promoted by A Kennedy on behalf of Aylesford Conservatives all at 200 Canterbury Street, Gillingham, Kent.