suffolk road

Winton Focus team in Suffolk Road

I have spent some time over the past few days talking to residents in this area and am amazed at the number of issues raised, particularly when local Tories claim to have solved all the problems by introducing parking restrictions.

 What they have failed to do, however, is to ensure that

  • the parking bays are swept – many are full of dirt and weeds
  • the footpaths are safe to walk on, several residents have complained about uneven surfaces not suitable for frail pedestrians or mobility scooters. Some prefer to walk in the road rather than use these substandard paths
  • speed limits are enforced traffic regularly speeds along the road
  • the street signs are clean and legible

I and the Winton town councilors and Focus team wil be taking these matters up with the relevent authorities. We will also raise the problems of turning out of Suffolk Road towards the town centre. The existing junction and traffic arrangements are far from satisfactory.

Traffic in Old Winton Road

Residents have asked me to take action to deal with traffic issues in the Old Winton Road area. Most importantly the existing pedestrian crossing on Winchester Road is woefully inadequate and should really be replaced by pedestrian controlled or timed  lights. Such a system would immediately solve the age old problems of traffic trying to turn in to, and out of,  Old Winton Road. I have also been asked to investigate traffic calming measures along Old Winton Road where speeding has become a problem.

 I have passed these comments on to the local Highways officers and await their response. Let me know what you think should be done to improve road safety here.

Highways respond quickly on Agricola Walk

Agriciola Walk

Last Saturday another local residents meeting took place at  Smannell Church centre. A number of issues were raised (more on this later). One of these was a very overgrown spikey bush on Agricola Walk. I reported it to Hampshire Highways  on Monday and am pleased to report that today the offending bush was cut back to allow safe passage. My thanks to Hampshire Highways for their prompt response. If there are any other similar issues where you live let me know.

Removal of overgrown trees

Trees on King Arthurs Way

For some months now I have been in discussions with Hampshire Highways regarding the overgrown trees on King Arthur’s Way  to the rear of Tintagel Close. Regular readers may remember I queried the double yellow lines extending into the parking bay here back in April.

 Local residents have been trying to get these trees cut back or removed since early 2008. They are far too big for the location. The roots are making the footpath unsafe and are damaging garden walls and gates. The trees also overshadow gardens, the house windows and street lights. Hampshire Highways have consistantly argued there was no need to remove or prune the trees but I can now report they have reconsidered this viewpoint.

Following my requests the trees were surveyed again and I have been advised that because of damage to the footpath that there are good engineering reasons to remove the trees and this will be done. No date has been set yet but I hope that after nearly three years residents will not have to wait too much longer for this problem to be solved.

potholes repaired at last

On arriving at King Arthur’s Hall (see below) I was pleased to see that at last the potholes at the entrance to Galahad Close were finally being repaired and the road resurfaced. My thanks to Highways for doing the job. Isn’t it a pity however that these jobs never get done unless I and residents complain continually for action. Unfortunately this was just one of the poor sections of road in Alamein ward. I will now move on to see if we can get others done as well. If you have any particular examples of badly maintained roads please let me know.

Buses update #3

Hospital bus

On 29 June, the Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust confirmed that they will not be extending the contract for the Andover Hospital Shuttle Bus service beyond 31 August 2010. The Trust has said that this was a difficult decision, but that it has been reached owing to the increasing financial constraints the current economic situation will place on public sector bodies. The passenger numbers whilst consistent, they say, are relatively low – an average of 2.97 passengers per journey.

The Trust has stated that ‘the improved Outpatients Department at Andover Hospital provides a different opportunity for local services, yet to be fully exploited, but this may, itself, reduce the need for patients to travel to Winchester.’ Test Valley council officers who are working to ensure all users have as much notice as possible so they can make alternative arrangements.

While I appreciate the Trust’s need to get value for money it is unacceptable to pull this service without first making sure all the patients using it have access to alternative means of getting to Winchester. I also wonder why the trust hasn’t looked at its running costs before closing the service. If they only have 3 passengers per journey surely a minibus or taxi would be cheaper than a bus.

I will be following this up with council officers and other interested organisations.

Traffic calming on Icknield Way

Traffic survey on Icknield Way

I have written to Test Valley’s Planning and Highways departments asking them to review traffic calming measures on Icknield Way. A series of build outs have been installed between Viking Way and Lilywhite Crescent to slow down traffic. Eventually the road will be closed to all but bus and emergency traffic.

Local residents, however, believe the existing traffic calming is ineffective and that the delay in implementing long term plans means the road will become increasingly dangerous as it is used by more traffic to and from Augusta Park

I and town councillor Barbara Carpenter last week carried out a survey of traffic in the area. The result of this survey together with local residents’ comments has been passed on to council officers for follow up.

I believe there is an increasing problem in the area and residents concerns are justified. As occupancy of Augusta Park increases, traffic and problems on this road will also increase. Existing traffic calming measures do not appear to be effective and may in fact be having the opposite effect. I would like to see all options reviewed and some action as soon as possible to improve traffic management and road safety in the area.

Pot holes (again)

It seems despite all the hype about pot hole busters and increases in spending on roads we still have an awful lot of pot holes around Andover’s roads and no firm news as to when they will be repaired. I know, from regular correspondance with highways officers, that many repairs are scheduled but there is still a backlog of work to be done.

Most recently I have contacted highways (again) about the appaling state of Galahad Close as shown by the pictures below.  The answer I received is that there is an order for repairs and it is a priority.

Galahad Close #1         Galahad Close #3          Galahad CLose #2

Perhaps our county councillors should come clean and admit they cannot maintain our roads to the standards we expect rather than making rash claims to have solved all the problems. In the meantime I hope to see Galahad Close, at least, brought up to a safe standard.

Diversion of Smannell Road

Taylor Wimpey and Test Valley Borough Council plan to close part of the existing Smannell Road and divert it through the Augusta Park development at East Anton. An additional roundabout will be added and the journey distance doubled.

Due to the substantial number of objections from local residents, a three day public local enquiry will be held in The Lights at Andover starting at 10am on the 20th July. Smannell Parish Council has objected to this unnecessary diversion on the grounds that:

  • Heavy agricultural and commercial traffic will be forced to drive through this dense residential area and along a key route to the new Augusta Park school.
  • Emergency Services will be delayed when travelling to and from St. Mary Bourne, Little London and Smannell.
  • Noise pollution will be increased by heavy vehicles climbing the slope of the diverted road and slowing at the roundabouts.
  • Light pollution from vehicles passing at night will affect houses along the route.
  • Exhaust emissions will be increased by the extra distance, vehicles slowing at the roundabouts and by the slope of the diverted road.

The new route for Smannell Road traffic

Residents who feel they may be affected by this diversion are being encouraged to attend the public local enquiry. If you intend to speak or rely on a written statement at the enquiry, the Department of Transport request that you send a copy by 22nd June to The National Transport Casework Centre, Citygate, Gallowgate, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4WH.

I will be attending the inquiry and have submitted an objection to the proposal. Full detail of my statement can be read here smannell-road-statement.pdf

If you want any further information please contact me or the parish council.

No parking in a parking bay?

Residents of Tintagel Close are well aware of the double yellow lines at the entrance and no doubt appreciate them. However they are lost to understand the logic of extending the yellow lines into the parking bay on King Arthur’s Way – see picture below.

 Parking on King Arthurs Way

I have raised this with Highways officers who tell me the lines should only extend 10 metres from the junction and not into the parking bay. if you’ve see someone out there with a tape measure you now know why. I hope they will soon sort this out – common sense should dictate you don’t put yellow lines in a parking bay.

If anyone has received a ticket for parking here please let me know and I’ll take it up with the authorities.