From Tunbridge Wells Leader and Times, September 19, 1997
Residents debate A21 options ALTERNATIVES to a new six lane section of the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury were discussed by concerned residents last week. Ideas from the 40 or so people at the Stop the Road meeting at the BP Hall, High Brooms, on September 9 included improving public transport, putting the road underground or widening the existing road. The meeting comes just over a month after a decision on the Government’s A21 scheme was postponed until next spring. Sherwood residents Karl Martin and Rebecca Roberts criticised the current scheme both for its environmental impact and the traffic it would generate through Sherwood. Mr Martin said: “I cannot believe anybody could be so stupid as to suggest a road straight through the middle of the countryside. It’s the most disastrous option.” Tunbridge Wells borough councillor Val Catt said: “If you take more countryside year in, year out, there’s no point in going anywhere because it will all be under Tarmac. All the time there is a railway line down to Hastings that is not being used.” John Goodfellow described the thinking behind the route, which goes over the site of a Celtic hill fort at Castle Hill, as an old solution of speeding the motorist up. He said: “We need to look at a real alternative. There is money available and we can improve things for everybody. A resident of Tunbridge Wells for 30 years said: “I was horrified at the Beeching cuts and they have transferred everything on to the roads. I think it’s high time we reversed the whole process. One interesting idea was to join Vauxhall lane with Dowding Way, off Longfield Road, for use by local traffic and therefore reduce the number of vehicles on the A21. Another, rather pessimistic resident said: “I think the economic case will win. We have not got a chance. I am extremely worried about our future.” The meeting organiser, Southborough town councillor Andrew Lohmann, said another meeting would be called soon. It is hoped a group can be formed to press the case for an alternative scheme.