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Anger and disappointment at Kent County Council's Reaction to Romney Marsh Unadopted Roads Petition

September 6, 2003 12:00 AM
Ann Birchmore and Peter Carroll on an unadopted road in Littlestone

Local Campaigners Ann Birchmore and Peter Carroll on one of Romney Marsh's many unadopted roads

Shepway Lib Dem campaigner Peter Carroll has reacted with disappointment and anger at the reaction of Kent County Council Highways Board to the huge petition presented to it by residents of Greatstone, Littlestone and St Mary's Bay - all areas plagued by the problems of unadopted roads. The petition was signed by 272 residents and was presented in March 2003.

The petition asked for two outcomes. First, that the practice of builders buying unadopted roads on the open market and then charging local residents up to £2,000 for the right to cross the road edge - a practice known as Ransom Stripping- should be stopped. Second, that Kent County Council should lobby the Government for extra funds to adopt the roads as there are so many in the area that it was a community issue.

In a report to be presented to the KCC Highways Advisory Board on Wednesday 10th September 2003, officers have recommended that no action be taken on either point. In addition, a request for Peter Carroll to address the Board in support of the residents has been turned down.

Peter Carroll said, 'There are 3 main reasons why I am disappointed and why the residents who signed this petition will be angry. First, KCC have REFUSED TO EVEN ASK central government for help with this issue. Second, the report does not address the outrageous issue of 'Ransom Stripping'. Third, the Board will not allow us to speak at its meeting'.

Peter added, 'In the covering letter to the petition, I acknowledged that this was a difficult issue which was not easy to solve. That is why the petition specifically asked that KCC approach the Government for help. Not to even ask for the help is simply not good enough. The issue of Ransom Strips is a very different matter. I believe that this could be addressed by KCC in some way. The report appears not to address this issue at all'.

'Local people cope with over 10km of unmade roads which has a very severe impact on their quality of life. As the Kent County Council component of Council Tax rises ever higher they are paying more and more for no street lights and very poor road surfaces. Add to that the issue of Ransom Stripping and you can see why people feel let down and angry'.