The following letter was written by the Campaign to Protect Rural England to The University of Kent.
Canterbury has a serious air pollution problem caused by vehicles. Statutory limits are very often exceeded for long periods. This causes extreme danger to public health, and we have very good medical evidence to this effect. Also the Government is currently expressing great concern on the same topic.
When Mr. Keith Mandell was Vice-Chancellor, and the University set out its proposals for Keynes 2 development, a promise was made orally and in writing also. that students would be told not to bring cars into Canterbury. They had already been told not to park on campus. Mr. Mandell told us that each student that was admitted would be asked to sign an undertaking to this effect.
Nevertheless, there are quite a number of your students ignoring this dictum and parking in the public roads, adding to the pollution problem, and preventing residents from parking in these roads. Cars are parked, for example, on St. Thomas’s Hill in areas where Kent Highways Dept. has painted advisory hazard lines in the centre of the road to prevent cars overtaking in those areas. The cars parked leave no alternative for vehicles travelling towards Whitstable but to enter the hazard zone. In one area, the view of vehicles approaching from the opposite direction is completely obscured by three cars parked on the brow of the hill.
Cars are also parked by students in roads adjacent to their private lodgings, some of which are very narrow. One of the local residents could not drive out of her road because of a student car obstructing her, and the Police had to be called. Another resident, with eyesight problems found a car parked across her driveway so that her husband could not exit their property. There is already a certain amount of resentment by locals about private accommodation being taken by students, rather than the residents who need it, and about behaviour, especially late at night or the small hours and lack of action about waste and rubbish. We would be very sad if an accident were caused by dangerous parking, and we doubt that the Police would have the time and resources to deal with the matter formally.
Can we ask you please to copy this to the current Vice-Chancellor and also the Student Union President, and ask them to take action. Perhaps someone could take a note of the registration numbers of cars at the top end of St. Thomas’s Hill (near University Road) and ask the offending students to take their cars back home with them?
Although our primary object is the protection of rural England, a secondary object is to consider what happens in urban areas, but in fact, now that some students live in villages, parking there is a rural problem. I have copied this message to our committee.
Barrie Gore, Canterbury District Committee, CPRE Kent (Campaign to Protect Rural England), Queen’s Head House, Ashford Road, Charing, Ashford, TN27 0AD.
PS. Whilst writing we did communicate about the University’s failure to fully consult over its proposed 50 year plan, but had no reply. As we had no prior knowledge of this plan because of errors in the post code made by your corporate agents, we asked that our comments be accepted out of time. This failure to reply does not endear us to the University, and your agents should be reprimanded and made to repeat the public consultation properly. Can you please look into this. Thank you.