Council u-turn over controversial Sevenoaks road closure angers residents who want it shut over safety fears

Chipstead Lane in Sevenoaks at junction with Witches Lane and Bullfinch Lane
Chipstead Lane in Sevenoaks at junction with Witches Lane and Bullfinch Lane -Credit:Google Maps

Kent County Council said it would not now go ahead with a controversial trial road closure in Sevenoaks which sparked a groundswell of objections. The closure, of the Riverhead end of Chipstead Lane and Barnfield Road, which could have lasted up to 18 months, angered some living in the area.

But some residents of Chipstead Lane and the parish council were concerned about traffic and wanted it shut. As KentLive reported last month, the county council said it had been contacted for years by residents who were concerned by the volume of traffic and damage to parked vehicles in the one-way section.

One resident told KentLive there had been "hundreds of accidents and incidents, together with dead cats and dogs, and cars written off" and even parents "dashing for cover" with buggies to avoid vehicles.

The parish council has also put these concerns high up on its highway improvement plan. Objectors said there had been no consultation on the closure and said people living in Bullfinch Lane, Witches Lane, and the opposite end of Chipstead Lane, would be impacted by the closure.

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They said Chipstead Lane was a vital link to Riverhead, and traffic would be pushed onto other roads by the closure. And the council has now changed its mind.

No sooner had the council issued a statement to KentLive about its experimental traffic regulation order, it backtracked in an astonishing U-turn. A spokesperson for the county council told us: “The experimental traffic regulation order on Chipstead Lane will not be moving forward following feedback raised to KCC officers and elected members."

“KCC officers will continue to work with residents, councillors and the parish council to consider other options to address highway concerns in the area.”

Trevor Harrison, who lives in Riverhead, said: "Any inconvenience which might be experienced by the residents of surrounding roads is nothing compared with the catalogue of danger to pedestrians and the damage each week to vehicles, wall and fences endured by the residents of Chipstead Lane.

"In the latest incident, a cement lorry caused extensive damage to a number of vehicles as it ploughed down the lane. It would be a tragedy if this situation was allowed to continue until someone suffers a serious personal injury."

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