Herne Bay traffic mayhem fears as two busy routes to Canterbury shut for summer

Two of the main routes between Herne Bay and Canterbury will be shut this summer – with one not set to reopen for a year.

Residents say homes in the center of Herne are regularly shaken to their foundations by passing vehicles traveling to and from the city.

Signs were erected in Bullockstone Road, Herne Bay, warning of the roadworks last week

But they believe thousands more cars will trundle along the A291 after it was revealed Hackington Road and Bullockstone Road will both be sealed off throughout August.

Martyn Hillier – who runs the country’s first-ever micropub, the Butcher’s Arms – thinks closing the busy rat-runs will spark gridlock in Herne, where the inn is based.

“Good gracious me, it’s not looking good, is it?” the 62-year-old said.

“There will be substantially more traffic through Herne – the village can’t be equipped any worse for all the extra cars.

“The road is no wider than it was 100 years ago. It will be gridlocked and the village will be full of fumes.”

Butcher's Arms landlord Martyn Hillier
Butcher’s Arms landlord Martyn Hillier

SGN says it has shut Hackington Road in Tyler Hill “for the safety of the public and workforce while gas mains replacement works are to be done” for the next six weeks.

Motorists traveling from Herne Bay and Whitstable regularly use the route, after heading along Thornden Wood Road or Radfall Road, as a cut-through into Canterbury.

Meanwhile, Kent County Council (KCC) will begin 52 weeks of work on a multi-million-pound series of improvements to Bullockstone Road on Monday.

This leaves the center of Herne as the only main route left for drivers heading to the city from Herne Bay.

Herne and Broomfield Parish Council chairman Carol Davis told KentOnline: “They weren’t coordinated when they planned the closures – the Bullockstone Road one has been on the cards for a while.

Herne and Broomfield Parish Council chairman Carol Davies
Herne and Broomfield Parish Council chairman Carol Davies

“Everything will have to come through the village – it will be horrendous.

“It means more disruption for residents, more noise, more shaking of their buildings, more pollution.

“It’s going to be a nightmare.”

KCC’s scheme will include the installation of a roundabout at the junction between Bullockstone Road and the A291 Canterbury Road.

Bullockstone Road will also be widened, fitted with a pavement and have its speed limit reduced to 40mph.

Villagers fear the center of Herne will be gridlocked during the summer.  Picture: Hernehub
Villagers fear the center of Herne will be gridlocked during the summer. Picture: Hernehub

The authority will install a second roundabout further along the rat-run, which will connect it to a brand-new thoroughfare running through the planned 800-home development at Strode Farm.

A program of events has not yet been revealed.

The firm behind the proposals for the housing estate, Countryside Properties, expects its spine road to be completed next year.

Responding to the villagers’ concerns, a KCC spokesman said: “The road closure along Bullockstone Road is to facilitate works for the Bullockstone Road Improvement Scheme.

“They are due to be completed in July 2023 but every effort will be made to complete them sooner.

This graphic shows where the spine road will be built and how it will link up with Bullockstone Road on the outskirts of Herne Bay
This graphic shows where the spine road will be built and how it will link up with Bullockstone Road on the outskirts of Herne Bay

“The Hackington Road closure could not wait until next summer.

“We worked with SGN to plan for the work to take place during the school holidays so that disruption is minimised as far as possible.”

Officials from SGN also stress their project was “agreed in advance following close consultation with the local authority”.

They say the firm planned the “essential upgrades” to take place during the summer holidays in a bid to minimise disruption.

“We do understand people can get frustrated by roadworks,” a SGN spokesman added.

“However, these upgrades will ensure residents and businesses across Kent will be able to enjoy a safe and reliable supply of gas for many years to come.”

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