Issues with Fawkham’s roads and lanes featured prominently in the village survey as things you don’t like about living here. As a result, FPC members devote a lot of their time to helping to address these issues by looking into problems and raising them directly with Kent County Council (KCC) Highways, who are responsible for the roads, and with other bodies such as Sevenoaks District Council and Thames Water, for things they are responsible for. We also liaise with our KCC and SDC Councillors on some issues where they can help us. The recent accident on Valley Road has heightened concerns over the speed and volume of traffic on the road, and we want to share with you what we having been doing over the past 12-18 months.
                                                                                                                                                                                        In 2019, KCC Highways introduced “Highway Improvement Plans” for each Parish Council to use to request improvements, and Fawkham’s has included requests for traffic surveys to look at the speed, volume and weight of traffic using Valley Road, with a view to getting the various speed limits along the roads reassessed. Surveys were carried out in some locations at the end of 2019, and we analysed the results carefully before using them to request some actions via the Highway Improvement Plan submitted this year. Top-line information showed around 23,500 vehicles use Valley Road each week – or around 3,400 a day. In terms of speed, vehicles travelled well below the 40mph limit by the school, with an average of 28.7/28.6 mph (north/south). The average speed close to Michaels Lane was also under 30mph, although the speed limit was exceeded by a quarter of cars travelling north and 29% travelling south. However, at the transition of the 30:60 mph zones, on the way to Brands Hatch, the average speeds in both directions were 36mph. 
 
KCC Highways has agreed to undertake more traffic surveys in more locations (doing them last year would have under-estimated volumes due to Covid restrictions) and we are hoping they will take place this April. They have agreed to our request that the various speed limits along the road are now formally reviewed. The last review was in 2010 and Department for Transport guidance has changed since then, so this speed limit review will take that into account. We will let you know the outcome, which we expect to hear in May/June.
                                                                                                                                                                                       KCC Highways is also undertaking a signage review along the whole road, to make sure the right signs and road markings are being used in the right places. It’s often the case that too many signs leads to people ignoring them, whereas a carefully positioned sign can make a positive difference. Again, we will let you know the outcome of this review.
                                                                                                                                                                                         It is very important for all accidents to be reported to the Police if they involve any personal injury. It is these crash data statistics that are used to direct the available funds to the areas that need it the most. The statistics can be seen by entering a postcode here: CrashMap.co.uk
                                                                                                                                                                                     We would like to hear your views, comments and questions on road issues, which we will aim to cover at our next Parish Council meeting on 18th February. Please email us at fawkhampc@gmail.com and we will look into the points you raise.
Details for the FPC meeting on 18th February:

Time: Feb 18, 2021 07:30 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89829612886?pwd=SVVsMy9CQmNabGRicGt0K2srTERtUT09

Meeting ID: 898 2961 2886
Passcode: 069533

                                                                                                                                                                                    Listed here is an overview of other road-related issues we are currently working on:
  • Resurfacing Valley Rd – KCC Highways are well aware of the failure of the recent micro surfacing work and have promised that it will be rectified in March/April when weather conditions allow. Meanwhile, any concerns about specific areas along the road should be reported to KCC Highways who will investigate and take temporary action where required: https://www.kent.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/report-a-problem. Further details can be read here:https://fawkhampc.org.uk/update-on-valley-road-micro-surfacing/.
  • Potholes – these should be reported using the online tool: https://www.kent.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/report-a-problem. There are standard times in which they must be fixed.
  • Surface water flooding  Following complaints from us and from residents, KCC Drainage Engineers did CCTV surveys around the village green to investigate why it continually floods. They found the system drains into a soakaway on the grass verge at the junction with Fawkham Green Road, which has now been emptied of silt and a damaged section of the drain leading to it is being repaired this month.                                                                                                                                                  We also told KCC about a soakaway and gully south of the school, which a local resident recalled existed. It was not on KCCs records and had been completed buried over the years. It has now been found and made operational again, which should help surface water to drain more quickly in that area. There are not many gullies or drains in the villages roads. We need to keep reporting any blockages and flooding to KCC, using the online tool: https://www.kent.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/report-a-problem.
  • Sewage flooding – we have been supporting a local resident who has been pursuing Thames Water to take action on the too frequent sewage overflows. Thames Water are due to remove tree roots blocking one of their drains this month, and are being pressed to undertake routine maintenance work to help prevent issues.
  • Fly tipping – this is dealt with by Sevenoaks District Council (SDC), although if it is on private land it is the landowner’s responsibility to remove it. We have set up an action group – Fawkham Against Fly Tipping – in conjunction with SDC and our KCC Councillor to look at what can be done to reduce the number of fly tipping incidents in our village and the surrounding area by placing fly tipping signs and cameras in suitable locations. You can report fly tipping to SDC: https://www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/info/20000/rubbish_and_recycling/205/fly-tipping or use an app such as Country Eye or Fix My Street.
  • Litter picking and road sweeping – this is the responsibility of SDC, and we pushed for a full litter pick all the way along Fawkham/Valley Road/Brands Hatch Road, which took place in September. Although not every piece of litter was picked, the road looked a lot better. The section from the village green to the school will start to be swept again every 8 weeks, with a litter pick and sweep of the whole road every 6-8 months. We will continue to monitor that this happens and chase up if required. 
  • Grass cutting and verge maintenance – we are investigating with KCC whether any areas in Fawkham would be suitable to be left as roadside wildlife areas. This is not possible where cutting is done for sight lines/road safety reasons.
  • Road markings – we pressed KCC to repaint the white lines along the edges of the carriageway which had completely disappeared in many places. These lines make the road appear even narrower than it is and can help reduce speeds. We also successfully requested that the lines at various junctions, such as Manor Lane, be repainted, along with the markings outside Fawkham Primary school.
  • Flashing school warning signs – we have been investigating how these three signs work and what the options are in terms of repairing or replacing them. Progress has been slow but we continue to chase to answers.
  • Damaged road signs – we regularly report any we see to KCC Highways for repair. Anyone can do this using KCC’s online reporting tool: https://www.kent.gov.uk/roads-and-travel/report-a-problem. If you use the map option you can see if someone has already reported in and what progress has been made. We also get out a bucket and sponge and give signs a clean when they need it!
  • HGVs – Valley Road has a 7.5T except for access restriction which means only HGVs making deliveries/collections at an address along the road can use it. We know that many other lorries use it too. We requested that KCC Highways improve the signage at the Scratchers Lane end – which they did, both at the junction by the M20 bridge and also at the A20/Scratchers Lane junction. New traffic counts will tell us if these have made a difference. We also set up a Lorry Watch scheme through which suspected illegal use can be reported. If you would like to join the Lorry Watch group please let us know – it involves spending an hour or so every now and then. Also, if you report any lorries you see to us (with licence plate and/or company name, date and time) we can follow it up. Ultimately it is up to Kent Police to enforce the restriction, although we know the Lorry Watch has made a difference, with less use by some local businesses. Further details can be found here: https://fawkhampc.org.uk/lorry-watch/.

 

 

You can find all the links to report issues mentioned above in the Directory section of Fawkham Parish Council’s website: https://fawkhampc.org.uk/directory/.
Fawkham Parish Council