Sevenoaks 20 MPH moves closer to implementation following Sevenoaks Town Council’s agreement to funding

Published: 11 June 2024

Sevenoaks Town Council consulted on the following proposed 20mph scheme for Sevenoaks Town between 1st November – 16th December 2023. The design had been reduced previously by a Working Group of Sevenoaks Joint Transportation Board members from an earlier, more extensive scheme proposed in 2022 by Kent County Council – with the intention to address the original consultation’s responses.

The following responses were received to the first questions:
Do you support 20mph limits in residential roads and roads in close proximity to schools?
Yes: 1,668 (66%)
No 856 (34%)

Support increases significantly when filtering responses received from residents of Sevenoaks Town, with 1166 (74%) town respondents having voted “Yes” and 408 (26%) voting “No”.

Do you support the proposal for a 20mph limit for most of central Sevenoaks, including schools? (with map showing the proposed area)
Yes: 1,335 (53%)
No: 1,190 (47%)

Support increases significantly when filtering responses received from residents of Sevenoaks Town, with 965 (61%) town respondents having voted “Yes” and 612 (39%) having voted “No”.

At its Finance & Delivery Committee held on 10th June Sevenoaks Town Council agreed to use £141,967 of its Community Infrastructure Levy and £21,489 of its 2023 / 24 underspend to pay for the delivery of the 20 mph signage scheme designed by Kent County Council (KCC).

The design of the scheme was based on the decision of the Joint Transportation Board held on 20th March 2024 which recommended to the KCC Portfolio Holder that the consulted 20 mph scheme be reduced via the removal of “Mount Harry/Hitchen Hatch Road*, St Botolph’s Road, and the northern section of the A225 from the Vine to the Bat and Ball junction.

*Referring to Hitchen Hatch Lane.

Please see map for further details:


Cllr Tony Clayton, Chair of the Town Council’s Finance & Delivery Committee said:
“The Town Council has responded to five petitions, from residents’ associations and schools, asking for speed reductions to improve safety for students walking to school, for pedestrians in the town centre, and walkers heading to Knole Park. Five schools have seen improvements with the introduction of 20 limit areas - St Johns’, Walthamstow Hall senior and junior, Sevenoaks Primary and Granville Schools.
The latest petitions focused on the remaining seven schools in the town, from Sevenoaks School to Trinity and Knole Academy, taking in Lady Boswells and St Thomas’, plus Seal primary. The Town Council agreed to run the second consultation on a more focused 20mph scheme for the Town, designed by Sevenoaks Joint Transportation Board members.
The results confirm:
- strong support for the policy adopted in the Sevenoaks Town Neighbourhood Plan for 20 mph limits near schools and some residential areas
- majority support for the specific plan approved for consultation by the JTB - and a significantly larger majority for Sevenoaks Town taxpayers
- majority support for every street included in the plan, after taking account of the specific question in the survey asking about roads to be left out.
Kent County Council - based on reservations from the JTB about how well 20 limits would be observed - has approved the scheme covering most of the schools but leaving out four roads.
This is a major step forward for road safety in Sevenoaks. We believe it will help to reduce the tragic toll of 36 crash injuries a year in the town over the last ten years. The number of school students on Sevenoaks streets each day is 8,000 and rising, and there is an urgent need for more of them to be able to walk or cycle safely to school. If we don’t enable this, congestion and pollution in the town will get worse. More important, we will make no progress towards Kent County Council’s aim to cut serious accidents
We are disappointed that the full scheme can’t be implemented now, but it’s vital to make a start. We will commit to work with Kent Highways on a few remaining details still to be agreed.”

KCC also want to De-illuminate existing lit road signs of which there are 49 at the same time as implementing the 20mph limits. This is expected to cost approximately £700 per sign.

Sevenoaks Town Council is challenging this blanket recommendation. There are concerns that signs are not being reviewed for their road safety necessity, there will be a considerable cost to local residents and the principal this will set for other areas of the County who will also be required to meet these unnecessary costs.

Sevenoaks Town Council is keen to reduce the town’s carbon footprint and understand that the reduction of road signs being lit will assist this, however, also believes that a more refined way of consideration and addressing this should be implemented rather than a blanket removal of signs within different speed limits.

Linda Larter MBE
Chief Executive / Town Clerk
11th June 2024