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Last updated 2.1.2013

The earliest map of Hartley in 1769 shows the following roads in existence then: Ash Road, Church Road, St John's Lane, Manor Lane, Grange Lane, Hartley Hill and Castle HIll (called Hartley Lane in a 1657 deed).  There would have been a number of farm tracks also in existence then as well as the ancient footpaths.  It is likely that Stack Lane, Fairby Lane, Gorsewood Road and Manor Drive existed in some form in the 19th century.  Payne and Trapps added the roads Merton Avenue, Haverstock Drive (Wellfield), Silverdale Drive (Larksfield), Gresham Avenue and Woodland Avenue shortly after they bought the estate in 1905.  Between the wars saw the additon of Gorse Way and Hottsfield.  All other roads are post-second world war creations (see chart below).  

Only two roads have been lost in Hartley - "Grasiers Lane" which followed a similar course to Gresham Avenue from Church Road to Pitfield.  This was lost when Payne and Trapps laid out their plots in 1905.  However one of Payne and Trapps's roads is lost too - Sevenoaks Council did not follow the outline of Porchester Crescent when they laid out the Wellfield Estate.




Hoselands View


Green Way


Old Downs, Springcroft


Briars Way


Cherry Trees, John's Close


The Warrens


Berrylands, Conifer Avenue, Oast Way, Round Ash Way


Beechlands Close


Copse Side


Carmelite Way, Dickens Close, Grange Way, Quakers Close


Culvey Close


Brambledown, Manor View


Hawthorns, Pitfield


Chantry Avenue, Culcroft, Northfield


Banckside, Billings Hill Shaw, Caxton Close, Downs Valley, Parkfield


Perran Close


Porchester Close


Silverdale Close


Tates Orchard


Wickhams Way


Everglade Close


Broomfields, Fairacre Place, Fortuna Close


Merryfields Close


Simonds Drive

Since 1555 parishes were supposed to maintain roads within their boundaries and could levy rates to pay for this; the whole parish could be summonsed if repairs were not done.  In 1679 the parishioners of Hartley were summonsed for the poor state of the road for 200 yards from the junction with Church Road towards Longfield.  However all the evidence suggests that roads all over the country were poorly maintained.

A glimpse of the state of the roads in 1869 can be seen when local police superintendent and 2 constables were driving through Hartley on a horse and cart.  The paper said the road was narrow and brambles hung down into the road.  The horse got scratched by the brambles, panicked and threw the cart over.  Supt Brandon was badly injured but recovered (Gravesend Journal 22.9.1869).

Up until the 20th century Hartley's roads were made up of flints, with its plentiful local supply.  Once steam rollers were available, they rolled the flints into place.  When rains washed mud onto the road, they were supposed to be scraped.  Tar spraying was being used in the Dartford Rural District by 1917.

By a 1975 order vehicular traffic is banned in Stack Lane between Ash Road and Carmelite Way except for access.

Britain had the first speed limits for mechanically propelled vehicles - 10 mph (1861), 4 mph (1865), 14 mph (1896), 20 mph (1903).  The Road Traffic Act 1930 abolished speed limits for cars and motorbikes.  Total abolition was short lived and after an increase in accidents in towns, the Road Traffic Act 1934 allowed speed limits again in urban areas.  A national default speed limit for when other limits did not apply was introduced in 1965.  It is currently 60 mph.

The first road in Hartley to have a speed limit was Ash Road.  In 1939 the Ministry of Transport announced their intention to impose a 30 mph limit on Ash Road and Hartley Road for 1 mile 1,090 yards southwards from the junciton with the B260 Main Road in Longfield (to the Black Lion, then the southerly point of Hartley parish).  It may not have been brought into force then, as in 1946 the Parish Council was under the impression that Ash Road had no speed limit.  However 30 mph signs had appeared by 1947.  This left a gap from the point in the 1939 order to Chapelwood Road, which was plugged in 1983 by Kent County Council.

Other known speed limit orders are:

  1. Church Road for 1,600 yards southwards from Ash Road junction (to party wall of Ardgowan and Oakdene) - 30 mph (1974)
  2. Briars Way, Gorse Way, Gorsewood Road, Gresham Avenue, Larksfield, Manor Drive, St Johns Lane, Springcroft, Stack Lane, Wellfield, Woodland Avenue - 30 mph (1974)
  3. Castle Hill - 30 mph (amended speed limit order) (1995)

All of the previous orders, except the 1939 one, have been replaced in 2012 by a consolidated order by Kent County Council.  It made few changes, however it does reduce the speed limit on the privately maintained part of Gorse Way to 20 mph.

Further Reading
Wikipedia Article on UK Speed Limits

There have been a number of orders imposing parking restrictions in Hartley, not all may still be in force:

  1. Cherry Trees (1975)
  2. Ash Road by Post Office and Social Club, Culvey Close (1993)
  3. Hartley Green (1996)
  4. 45 Caxton Close (disabled parking space (1994)

1.  Introduction

The motor car was invented in Germany in 1885 but before the first world war cars would have been a rarity on Hartley's roads.  The earliest car to be registered in Hartley was a 25 horse power Iris, owned by Lionel Harris of Hartley Manor, who used it for business purposes.  It was registered on 12 July 1910 with number D5475.

2.  Number Plates

Under the Motor Car Act 1903, car owners had to register their vehicles and display a number plate from 1 January 1904.  Until 1974 the register was kept by the local county council.  The earliest number plates issued for Kent were D1 - D9999 (1903-1913), this was followed by KT (1913-17), KN (1917-20) and KE (1920-).  Later the prefixes KJ, KK, KL, KM, KO, KP and KR were used.  

From about 1932 new series of three letters and three numbers was introduced using the same two letter codes as before.  Thus a Kent number plate would be AKN700 or BKN700 etc.  As these numbers ran out the numbers and letters were reversed (700AKN etc).  In the 1950s and 1960s Kent also issued four digit numbers followed by the original letter D.

From 1963 the year letters began, when these ran out in the current format GA 04 ABC was introduced in 2001.  The series GA to GM was allocated to registrations at Maidstone.

3.  Car Ownership

Being generally a well off area, car ownership in Hartley is high compared with the national average.  Over half of households own more than 2 cars.  Only one in seven households have no car at all, but this figure rises to 23% of households in the Wellfield area.


Households with the following number of Cars and Vans

Total Cars or Vans








East (Hartley 004A)







South & Hodsoll St (Hartley 004B)







West (Hartley 004C)







Wellfield (Hartley 004D)





















Percent Households







National Average (England)







Of the households who replied to the Hartley Village Survey in 1979, 40% had no car, 40% had one car, 19% had 2 cars and 1% had 3 or more cars.  However this was only a partial survey of no more than half of households, and may have had a greater proportion of older households than average.

Further Reading
For more on the history of number plates go to the website of the
Chiltern Vehicle Preservation Group.
Car Ownership - see the 2001 census at Neighbourhood Statistics.


Up until the 20th century traffic would have been very light.  Alice Sale once wrote in the Hart that when her family moved to Hartley in 1913 they walked up from the station to Fairby Cottages opposite Stack Lane, and they didn't see any traffic. The succeeding years have seen a steady increase in traffic although actual figures before recent years are difficult to come by.  A traffic survey was conducted in May 1978 which suggested 5,000 vehicles used Ash Road each day, but it didn't say where the survey took place which makes a considerable difference.  It does however suggest that traffic levels may have doubled since then.

Babtie have statistics from two traffic surveys conducted in 1999 and 2004.  They give considerable detail - the number of vehicles and their speed is recorded each hour of the day.  It is difficult to draw some conclusions, because they are taken at different points of the road and different times.  However the following conclusions seem possible:

(a)     Near Junction with St Johns Lane (28 Jan - 7 Feb 1999).  The chart shows the Monday-Friday returns only


To Longfield

To Ash

Number of vehicles per day



Numbers exceeding 31mph



Numbers exceeding 41mph



Peak Hour



Numbers at peak hour



Quiet Hour



Numbers at quiet hour



(b)     Near Junction with Merton Avenue (8 - 13 October 2004).  The chart shows the returns for the weekdays 8, and 11-13 only


To Longfield

To Ash

Number of vehicles per day



Numbers exceeding 30mph



Numbers exceeding 40mph



Peak Hour



Numbers at Peak Hour



Quiet Hour



Numbers at Quiet Hour




For such a large settlement Hartley has comparatively little streetlighting, and it has been queried as recently as the Hart of November 2012 why Hartley does not have more lights.  

The main "lit" areas of the parish are:

Lighting only became practicable when mains electricity reached the area in the early 1930s.  Longfield parish was very keen and agreed to set up 8 lighting columns at road crossings in 1932.  Then the local paper said the lights were causing some envy in Hartley (Dartford Chronicle 28.10.1932).  However it was not until 1953 that the parish council discussed lighting following a request from residents of Hoselands Hill.  No action was taken then and the parish council told the developers of Springcroft in 1956 there was no point in their installing street lights as the council would not pay the running costs.  Similar offers from developers were also declined, but Chantry Avenue does have the necessary conduits should lighting be later adopted.

There was some discussion on the subject in 1978, after the Labour prospective parliamentary candidate fell in the dark on Ash Road and needed hospital treatment (Gravesend Reporter 3.3.1978).  The following month 184 people attended the annual parish meeting, which voted against extending street lighting.  The Village Survey of 1979 had 16 reponses in favour of lighting and 17 against, but no specific question had been asked on the subject.

The cost of lighting has proved one of the sticking points, as lower standard "footway" lighting would have to be paid for by local residents, either all the parish or just the part lit ("footway" lighting doesn't necessarily need a pavement to light).  Many people have also opposed lighting as they think it may make Hartley "less village like".  Letters to the Hart of October 1992 - April 1993, and April - June 2003 well sum up the differing views:

"On two occasions I have been the victim of serious road accidents, which I feel would not have occurred if there had been some light...  Wake up Hartley and let there be light!" (Hart, October 1992)

"The provision of streetlighting is essential so we can see and be seen" (Hart, December 1992)

"Having lived in Hartley since 1960 and appreciated the rural atmosphere.. I would be saddened to see further encroachment of suburban ethics... If we wished to live in a town, we would." (Hart, January 1993)

"We really do need street lights owing to the lack of consideration of some of the local dog owners" (Hart, April 1993)

"Is this... indicative of a 'Hartley Mentality'.  Are we really indifferent to the fate of the elderly who trip or get mugged in the dark?  Are we really concerned to make those who feel vulnerable more secure?"  (Hart, April 2003)

"...lights encourage youngsters to congregate and the resulting litter, vandalism and graffiti spoil the area... I feel safer on our roads than I would in many surrounding well lit places".  (Hart, May 2003)

The most recent survey on lighting was conducted as part of the Hartley Parish Plan in 2005.  Overall 40% were in favour and 60% were against (from the 730 households who replied to this question).  It did reveal a number of groups in favour, which included households with no cars or more adults than cars (they of course will be more likely to walk rather than drive), people who thought Hartley wasn't a safe place to live and people who thought the pavements were sub-standard.  Some unlit roads also voted in favour of lighting and some people who were otherwise against did comment that there might be a case for lighting the main roads in the centre of Hartley.  The plan recommended the parish council make further investigations where the survey had indicated support for lighting.

In 2002 research conducted by the Home Office found that in some circumstances, streetlighting could be effective in deterring crime.  Other research in 2005 for the Home Office found less evidence of a reduction in crime, but was clearer that it does reduce fear of crime.

The other recent development is that Kent County Council has proposed reducing or removing the streetlights they are responsible for on Ash Road.  The parish council's highways committee were in favour in principle (Minutes 15.4.2010), but at the full council, this was amended to a vote in favour for only certain times of the day (Minutes 10.5.2010, I believe after the last train was suggested as a possible cut off time).  At present no further action appears to have been taken.

Further Reading

F Tate - "The First Hundred Years" (Hartley Parish Council 1994)
Hartley Parish Plan (2009)
Effects of Improved Streetlighting on Crime: A Systematic Review (Farrington/Welsh, Home Office, 2002)
The Effect of Better Streetlighting on Crime and Fear: A Review (Ramsay, Home Office 2005)