Published: 14 July 2023

Residents may be aware that Sevenoaks District Council and Kent County Council are proposing to introduce an East to West walking, Wheeling and Cycling route in Sevenoaks Town – for which public consultation ends today.

Sevenoaks Town Council has been consulted to provide a local view on the proposed route and considered the plans via its Planning Committee on the 3rd of July 2023.

The Town Council is supportive of active travel routes in principle, and recently held a successful Referendum on its Sevenoaks Town Neighbourhood Plan which also promotes active travel via the following active travel policies:
  • Policy M1: The Neighbourhood Plan promotes walking and cycling and supports the removal of barriers to pedestrian and cycle movement across the town.

  • Policy M5: The Neighbourhood Plan supports proposals for improved pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities at major junctions across the town.

  • Policy M9: The Neighbourhood Plan supports measures that will encourage a shift towards the use of greener modes of transport by businesses and residents.

Notwithstanding its principal support for enhancing active movement across the town and improving air quality around schools, The Town Council does have the following concerns about the proposed East-West Walking, Wheeling and Cycling route:
  • The Town Council strongly opposes any one-way system; both on Bradbourne Park Road and on St James’s Road further on in the route. Regardless of which direction is made one-way, the impact on surrounding roads and congestion are considered unacceptable and should be avoided.

  • Furthermore and in particular, the Town Council is against the one-way system on Bradbourne Park Road due to the impact it will have on nearby residential roads as well as busy parents, by way of increased congestion caused by the re-routing of school traffic. Any proposal which will cause increased congestion near schools is strongly discouraged due to the impact it will have on air quality and efficiency of dropping off.

  • The Town Council has requested design engineers to investigate an alternative to the afore mentioned one-way proposals, whereby cyclists and motorists share the road with cyclist priority indicated with coloured tarmac and painted cyclist symbols. If feasible, this would allow the two-way system to be maintained in a way in which the Town Council believes would be an acceptable solution toward safer cycling options.

  • Although the STNP supports proposals for improved pedestrian and cycle crossing facilities at major junctions across the town – which the proposed route provides at St John’s Hill – the Town Council has reservations in regards to the current design. The current proposals direct cyclists down the hill to a shared pedestrian crossing before leading them back up to continue the route. The Town Council considers this rerouting of cycling traffic to be unlikely to be followed, with cyclists instead taking the more direct route across traffic. The Town Council has recommended for this to be monitored.

Despite its reservations, The Town Council would like to reiterate that it is strongly supportive of greener initiatives which will not only combat air pollution but also improve quality of life to its residents. The following sections of the proposals are particularly supported in The Town Council’s response:
  • Via Lake View Road and via London Road – subject to these stretches of road being reduced to 20mph to ensure the safety of cyclists

  • Extending the route to Knole Academy at the junction with Oakdene Road and towards Sevenoaks Station at the junction with Bradbourne Park Road

  • The private stretch of St James Road – on the grounds that regardless of where cyclists are directed via signage, the majority of cyclists will likely use this road, as the alternative is uphill and longer. Negotiations are therefore encouraged to continue with residents of the road, in order to make the route as cyclable and accessible as possible. At a minimum, STC encourages the route to be advertised as the primary walking route.

  • Proposals at Wickenden Road, Littlewood, Hillingdon Avenue (with its off-road facilities), and the creation of a pedestrian crossing at Seal Hollow Road.

The Town Councils full response can be viewed online here.

If you have any queries, please contact:

Georgie Elliston