An Eco-friendly traffic scheme has been designed by planners at Canterbury City Council has been revealed. The plan intends to split the cathedral city into five zones and fine drivers for moving between each zone.
Both residents and tourists would face fines for driving through boundaries from one area to another as part of the radical proposals to cut congestion. Motorists in Canterbury, Kent, would be penalised from one zone to another – meaning they will instead have to drive out of one neighbourhood onto a new ring road around the city, before re-entering their chosen section.
The proposals are part of a local plan to encourage residents to walk, cycle or use public transport.
Visitors and tourists will also no longer be able to use car parks within the historic city walls under the plans – and parking areas will therefore have to be moved to match the revised system, which is yet to be approved.
Automatic Number Plate Reading (ANPR) cameras will be operating at entry and exit points to each of the zones to stop drivers from moving between neighbourhoods without facing a fine.
Critics to the proposals say that journey times could double as all vehicles are forced to all use the ring road. Furious locals say it will ‘create ghettos’ as thee city is divided into different zones.
One person said ‘So the planners who have allowed Canterbury to become congested by allowing so many new homes in the area, are now the ones who are giving us these proposals. Why should we trust these people?’
Tory Council leader Ben Fitter-Harding, said ‘For residents within the five zones, they can access the facilities within their neighbourhood by car if they need to. But if you want to travel into a different neighbourhood, the best way to do that will be by walking, cycling or using public transport. It would likely be a frictionless system, so there will just be cameras and no barriers. We’d fine people if they just decided ‘I’m going to drive across the city, I don’t care’.
So Mr Fitter-Harding believes it is a good idea to fine people just because they want to travel from one side of Canterbury to the other?
Lib Dem councillor Nick Eden-Green says ‘Getting to shops, supermarkets, cinemas, cafes, let alone the hospital or the doctor, will mean difficult and much longer journeys for many existing residents, let alone new ones. It will actually add to the traffic, not reduce it. When I visit friends I don’t consider which zone they are living in. It’s frankly ridiculous. You’re creating ghettos where people are locked in and can’t travel elsewhere.’
It is a very un-Conservative proposal, with nowhere to do a U-turn
Most visitors will just avoid Canterbury and go somewhere else where they will not be fined. It will lead to the ruin if many businesses in the City centre.
The council’s cabinet will make a decision on whether to carry out a three month consultation period on the plan during a special meeting next week.