Peninsula Access – Lack of Action

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  • Further investigations after the tragic fatal accident that cost Mr Brian Durden his life on Monday 26th October at Four Elms Hill highlights  the procrastination and complete lack of  action by Medway Council over the problem of our only and unsustainable route on and off of the Peninsula.

    At a Medway Rural Liaison Committee in December 2015 requested by High Halstow Parish Council regarding the installation of speed cameras and a contingency plan for traffic when accidents or blockages occur on the Peninsula section of A228, Medway’s principal engineer confirmed he would be submitting an initial plan to the relevant portfolio holder on the 4th December 2015. He also confirmed he would clarify figures relating to fatalities on this section of the road.

    Fast forward to March 2017, again in response to a request from High Halstow Parish Council, a report setting out the current status of the A228 Hoo Peninsula Route Diversion Strategy was received. It was explained that the A228 was the primary route to the Hoo Peninsula and that beyond Stoke it was the only route to the Isle of Grain. Historically, there had been numerous occasions when the A228 had been closed to deal with incidents/accidents  where it was necessary to create a diversion around the incident despite a very limited number of alternative routes . Whilst it was recognised that the availability of suitable diversion routes on the Peninsula was limited, a Diversion Route Strategy had been drawn up providing positive signage to try to manage traffic flows. This had been as a result of the original consultation with Ward and Parish Council Members in 2015.

    Cost estimates had been obtained for the production and erection of new signage, but the roll out of strategy had not progressed beyond the 2015/16 financial year due to funding availability. Given the length of time that had now passed, it was considered that the strategy and associated signage recommendations required updating. In addition, the suitability of the old carriageway.

    Fast forwarding again to March 2019…
    A228 DIVERSION ROUTES Discussion:
    The Committee received a detailed report setting out proposals for implementing traffic diversion routes in the event of accidents or incidents on the A228 between Four Elms Hill Roundabout and Grain. It was noted that the A228 was the only ‘A’ road linking the centre of Medway to its northern areas including Hoo, the Isle of Grain, Upper and Lower Stoke and Allhallows and that the only nominated diversion route currently in place used the Ratcliffe Highway, which ran parallel with the A228 between the junctions of Main Road Hoo and Bells Lane. The diversion came into effect when the parallel section of the A228 was closed. There were currently no other formal diversion routes in place along this section of the A228 which meant that when an accident or incident occurred, traffic either diverted onto unsuitable roads or waited for the carriageway to re-open causing congestion and delays.

    The Head of Integrated Transport informed the Committee that officers had divided the A228 into sections and identified a number of diversion routes that could be implemented when incidents occurred on the A228, details of which were set out in the report and highlighted on maps attached to the report as appendices. The proposed diversion routes had been prepared over a number of years and had previously been the subject of consultation with Parish Councils in 2016 and 2017.

    Whilst the provision of diversion routes was not a legal requirement, the implementation of the diversion routes along with appropriate signing would cost in the region of £20,000 and the outcomes of the scheme would align with the Council’s Local Transport Plan priorities and could therefore be funded by monies received from Central Government. Subject to the comments of the Committee, officers proposed to place the scheme before the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services for approval.

    The Committee discussed the report, and the Parish Council representatives made the following observations:

  • A number of the routes selected are not suitable for HGV’s.
  • Reliance on satellite navigation and how this could be prevented when a diversion is in place.
  • Whether a holding area for HGV lorries was still in place on the Peninsula.
  • There was a need to communicate to the local farmer and publican in Cooling when a diversion was in place or there were emergency closures as both businesses attract the majority of traffic going through the village. Action could then be taken to notify the drivers of large vehicles that would be visiting their premises.


In response to concerns regarding use of the diversion routes by HGV’s, the Head of Integrated Transport advised that in recognition of this issue, sections of the diversion routes would be made one way only. In addition, he confirmed that on some roads weight restrictions were in place. He confirmed that Operation Overflow was still in place if this was needed and he agreed to discuss with staff within his team the need for improved communication with businesses in Cooling when there were to be diversions or road closures. The Head of Integrated Transport confirmed that the proposed diversion signage would be permanently in place but would clearly indicate that it was only relevant when a road closure was in place.

These comments are from official Council minutes of Rural Liaison Committee:
So, we have to ask WHY are residents still losing their lives? WHY are our ‘B’ roads gridlocked? WHY do Kent Police stand by and watch HGVs use a totally unsuitable country lane causing gridlock? Could it be that Medway Council have put a price on the lives of Peninsula residents? Do they consider speed cameras, which costs on average £100k a mile for average speed cameras, so a cost of £400k from Four Elms roundabout to High Halstow completed linked system? £400k after the millions and millions they are making from developments on the peninsula. £400k is that too much to prevent yet another family feeling the crushing pain of losing a loved one?

 Medway tunnel has speed cameras, Frindsbury Hill has speed cameras, but there are no speed reduction cameras on Peninsula Way. It seems that they really do treat us as second-class citizens on the Peninsula, and so in memory of Brian Durden and all of the others maimed or killed on the altar of ‘cost saving’ on our one and only road on and off the Peninsula, we must come together and demand safer roads and better protection for both pedestrians and vehicles. The A228 Peninsula way is unsustainable now and certainly cannot sustain 12000 new homes for the future Make your voice heard here by commenting.

16 Replies to “Peninsula Access – Lack of Action”

  1. Epic fail by all concerned on all the above and blood is on their hands.
    Medway council have been sitting on the section 106 monies which were designated for a slip road off by pass onto 4 elms which would help with accidents caused at peak times.
    Phil filmer has confirmed this to me so maybe elected officials should ask jarrett to spend that money and put pressure on portfolio holder phil fimer….

    1. Thanks for your comment Karen, I will be trying hard to get the answers to these questions. The Peninsula has been neglected in such away that residents are literally being killed through a lack of proper investment in our infrastructure.

  2. We need to make our roads safer, for pedestrians and road users. Vehicles use our roads as a race track late at night, they also do not adhere to the 40 MPH restriction at Four Elms Hill. We need cameras as deterrents for those that speed.

    1. Elizabeth, We must continue to fight for a truly sustainable access to the peninsula and question if its really the right place for development. Who in there right mind would build a dual carriage way the likes of Peninsula Way through the middle of a new town? It’s madness !

    1. Thanks for you comment Brian, Medway are telling us that Peninsula way is at capacity now and that without major improvement further development is unsustainable we don’t think that peninsula way will every sustain 12000 new homes. In the meantime we certainly need better protection for residents from drivers travelling dangerously along our Peninsula roads.

    2. But it’s a dual carriage way . Humps in the road are not sensible & cause damage to vehicles . Speed cameras up the hill and by the exits of the garage would be a much better option on both sides of four elms hill

  3. We definitely need Speed Cameras on the up and down side between Four Elms Roundabout and the garages! In a fairly short while they would pay for themselves!

  4. Before I came here, an airport was planned I believe? What road improvements were planned if that had come to fruition? Because the roads that are here would not have sufficed then.

    1. Maggie,
      Residents of the Hoo Peninsula need to feel safe on our roads. We must hold Medway to account when they say the will Unlock the Potential of the Hoo Peninsula. To date we have had non of the detail of the Infrastructure improvements planned and remain skeptical that its even possible to unlock any potential.

  5. We have lived on the Peninsula for 20 years and have heard of numerous accidents and deaths especially on 4 Elms roundabout and 4 Elms Hill. It’s as though the residents of this area do not matter as NOTHING has changed in all this time. Come on, for goodness sake, get your act together and do what WE pay you for. Put the people first and do something to prevent or at least TRY to prevent any further needless deaths and distress to many people. One road on and off is not a good idea! We need traffic calming measures on the existing road as the 40mph speed limit is habitually ignored by a very large proportion of the road users. We also need another road as when 4 Elms Hill is blocked, as it was on 16/10/20 when a local gentleman tragically lost his life, there is only a narrow country lane as an alternative and on this night, that also got blocked by HGV’s through no fault of their own. Many spent the night in their cars (my husband and I did) as there was no way through. At one point, I was stuck in a jam with an ambulance with blue lights stuck behind me for 25 or so minutes. I hate to think of the poor person waiting for that ambulance to arrive! So, stop dithering, get your fingers out and DO SOMETHING! Do what you have been elected to do and PROTECT us, the tax payers!!! If you don’t, there will be more deaths and that would be basically murder on your part! Sort yourselves out, you should be ashamed of yourselves Medway Council….

  6. As a resident of Cooling, it is only a matter of time until we have a fatality due to speeding traffic through the village when traffic is diverted through the only alternative route off the peninsula. We need speed controls through the village along side enhanced speed
    Controls on the 4 elms section of 228.
    Our village is not suitable to support increased traffic as development on the peninsula continues

  7. I find it unacceptable that there was no police presence on the cliffe highway and the cooling road that could have stopped the lorries from becoming gridlocked causing people and emergency vehicles to be stuck for hours on end. This seems to be a lack of procedures that should be put into place the minute something like the tragic incident that occurred that evening happens.
    This doesn’t excuse the blatant lack of getting the root problem corrected to provide access routes at all times.

  8. Thanks Ron for this detail information – sadly Medway Council will build a new road costing millions which will not not be sufficient for 12,000 new houses – so we will have snakes of cars, HGVs causing massive pollution problems – with Medway Council collecting 24 million per year additional Council Tax – so good times ahead for Capstone residents where the Leader lives!!!!

  9. Hi Ron,
    A bit more background to trying to get an A228 emergency Plan
    From minutes of HHPC Feb 2011
    Mr xxxxx Emergency Planning Officer Medway Council was invited to the meeting regarding a contingency plan for A228 emergencies

    “Mr xxxxxx explained he worked with the police to prepare emergency plans in Medway. On the Peninsula they had to make off site plans for emergencies with the two Isle of Grain sites. There was an issue with Four Elms Hill and the duelled road to Ropers Lane. The police operated Operation Overflow with regard to Thamesport traffic – this had originally been to deal with any closure of Thamesport. Mr xxxxxx wanted to develop this to take into account other issues on the Peninsula. The main problem was that there was only one main road, all other roads were unsuitable. He had a meeting with Highways and the police the following week, he was trying to put in place a plan to store Thamesport traffic at the Dockyard, together with a set plan for other traffic. He agreed police officers had a lack of knowledge and he had been promised they would be briefed better”.

    Needless to say we heard nothing further and I asked at the October 2011 meeting for the clerk to enquire further

    Regards

    Ray

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