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Council backing for resident-led '20's plenty' campaign; more free car parking and electric vehicle charging points.

Major changes to local road speed restrictions, more free parking in town, and the provision of electric vehicle charging points were discussed by the Town Council’s External Committee on Monday, 9 August. Taken in combination, they would represent a significant change to traffic management in Tenterden.

20’s Plenty The committee agreed to support the National and International Group,  via the resident-led group which is campaigning for 20mph speed restrictions in Tenterden.

A paper tabled by campaign group member Jo Gandolfo said that reducing speed limits to 20mph would reduce accidents, noise levels and pollution, and reported that almost 1,000 streets in Kent are now restricted to that speed.

The committee agreed to liaise with Kent County Council, as the roads authority, on the group’s behalf, and to support the campaign’s publicity efforts.

Parking The Town Council has approached Ashford Borough Council (ABC),  the local parking authority, to take responsibility for either the Bridewell Lane or Leisure Centre car parks, and provide two-to-three hour free parking.

In a letter to ABC, Town Clerk Phil Burgess pointed out that the free parking regime introduced during Covid restrictions had stimulated a much-needed business recovery “and we are keen to promote the town as a tourist and ‘shop local’ centre.”

He pointed out that Cranbrook car parks are free, do not have time restrictions, which “presents strong competition for Tenterden in the race for visitors.”

He added that there was a lot of public support for free parking at existing High Street spaces to be increased from one hour to 90 minutes.

Responding, ABC chief executive Tracey Kerly said that it would not be feasible to split off individual car parks, but would explore discounted parking schemes in Tenterden subject to suitable financial arrangements to prevent loss of income to ABC.

She also said that many of the High Street parking bays were occupied by shop owners, and that a move to a free 90-minute stay would reduce turnover and parking availability for customers. She suggested the Town Council continues to work closely with the ABC parking team.

Electric vehicle charging points It was agreed that the council would ask, ABC to increase the number of electric vehicle charging points in Tenterden.

ABC has already pledged to install charging points at the Bridewell Lane car park (two fast chargers, plus four slower chargers if power is available) and two fast chargers at both Recreation Ground Road and the Leisure Centre.

However, the Town Council’s external committee voted to ask for more charging points, as the demand for electric vehicles is growing exponentially.