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Lower speed limits 'will help boost cafe culture' in Thanet

By Isle of Thanet Gazette  |  Posted: December 02, 2011

  • CAFE CULTURE: Traders want to have seats and tables outside but fear speeding traffic

  • Thanet : Margate High street

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LOWER speed limits will be introduced in Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs after complaints by residents and businesses.

Margate High Street and Reading Street, Broadstairs, will have 20mph zones in response to complaints.

Nethercourt Hill in Ramsgate will restricted traffic to 30mph.

High street traders hope the new speed limit is the first step on the way to a pedestrianised town centre.

The upper part of the High Street is closed to vehicles between 10am and 4pm.

Cafe, bar and pub owners in Margate want to create a family-friendly cafe culture with eating and drinking outside, but say speeding cars after 4pm are driving customers away.

Ian Darker-Larkings, owner of Lilly's-by-the-Sea bistro, said: "I'm pleased the council has reduced the speed limit to 20mph but I fear it's not enough.

"We would like the High Street to be pedestrianised as traffic discourages shoppers and families after 4pm as the cars zoom down here and there's no enforcement.

"We have been telling the council that we are trying to bring people back to the High Street and start a bit of a cafe culture in town, so pedestrianising it would be a great help."

Chris Carpenter, landlord of Sheldon's pub, said: "We have some seating outside so the traffic can be off-putting.

"A lot of families come here and it would be much safer without the traffic right outside.

"It's dangerous for the kids and let's hope the new speed limit can improve things here."

Residents in Reading Street have had a long-running campaign to reduce speeding cars.

They claim the area is a rat-run for motorists between Broadstairs and Margate.

In Ramsgate, the demand to extend the 30mph limit from St Lawrence High Street to Nethercourt Hill comes after a fatal crash in the area.

Long-awaited improvements to Westwood Road will be made in a bid to unblock traffic congestion around Westwood Cross.

The £420,000 scheme will be funded by the developer and completed next summer.

The westbound road between Tesco Extra and Westwood roundabout will now become a two-lane stretch to improve traffic flow.

Pedestrian and bicycle access will be addressed with enhanced pavements and cycleways between Poorhole Lane and the roundabout.

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