Flooding must be sorted as soon as possible

With Liz Byrne at Smannell Road

I share residents concern and anger at the continual flooding on Smannell Road open space and have joined local campaigner Liz Byrne in calling for immediate action to solve the problem.

The footpath from Roman Way to the new pedestrian crossing outside Tesco is lower than surrounding recently landscaped areas. Water collects on the path making it impassable whenever it rains. The surrounding grassed areas are now churned up as residents try to avoid the flooding. The whole area has been dug up on a number of occasions in the last two years as contractors tried to solve drainage and other problems.

I have asked both Hampshire Highways and Test Valley Borough Council to take immediate action to solve the problem. There has always been some flooding in this area but never been as bad as at present. I’m not bothered who takes responsibility for solving the problem as long as something is done. There is no point having wonderful new landscaping and pedestrian controlled traffic signals if residents have to wade through muddy water to cross the road.

Urgent road repairs needed

A number of residents have spoken to me about the appaling state of the road between Little London and Smannell left like this after BT contractors closed and dug up the road to lay new telephone cables. I have sent the following email to Hampshire Highways and have been promised an answer by next week.

Work now appears to be finished – at least they have finished digging holes but

  • Road signs saying the road is closed remain
  • Large potholes remain all along the route
  • Manhole covers have not been repalced
  • Vehicles are using the road and driving on the grass verge to get round obstacles left behind
  • As a result the entire route is slowly becoming unfit for use

Can you advise if the work is finished and if so when the contractors will tidy up the mess and resurface the damaged areas of road please?

On a similar note I have again asked for the abandoned road signs left by the phone box in Little London to be removed.

More parking for the disabled

Disabled parking

A regular complaint from residents is the lack of parking on local estates and the resultant difficulties this causes especially for disabled drivers. I am pleased to report that on 21 January the borough council implemented a road traffic order introducing a number new parking places for disabled drivers (blue badge holders) around Andover, many of these in Alamein ward.

The new Alamein spaces can be found in Camelot Close (6), Caesar Close (2), Florence Court (4), Galahad Close (5), Hammond Square (1), Hendren Square (1), Launcelot Close (2), Rhodes Square (1) and Turin Court (2).

Ful details of the traffic order and a map showing the exact locations can be seen at Andover library in the Chantry Centre or the council offices at Beech Hurst.

Road Closure in Smannell – again

Test Valley Borough Council have confirmed that Green Lane Smannell will be closed from 7 December for three months to allow works to lay improved telephone cabling between Little London and Smannell.

The closure was originally scheduled for 23rd November and caused widespread local anger because of the lack of notice given to residents. I agree with residents that the earlier closure was unacceptable and have concerns about the new proposals. I have spoken to the contractors who assured me it will be a rolling closure and disruption to residents will be kept to a minimum. They hope work will be completed in eight weeks rather than the three months proposed. I have also contacted Test Valley Highways department to confirm that the closure will not apply over Christmas and the road will be open to all traffic between 25th and 28th December inclusively. At other times residents will need to use the diversion via Enham.

Rumours this work is connected to the project to improve broadband provision in Little London are untrue. While the works will undoubtedly improve service to some households contractors are only laying copper cables which will not supply the broadband service called for by local residents. The Smannell Broadband group is still negotiating with Hampshire County Council on a project to bring adequate broadband coverage to the parish. I hope to report further on this in the New Year.

On potholes and footpaths

One of the most common complaints I get is about the state of our roads and footpaths. Local residents regularly contact me complaining of potholes in roads, overgrown trees on footpaths and beside roads and uneven (often dangerous) footpaths. Unfortunately it is not always easy to resolve these issues responsibility is often split between Test Valley Borough Council, Hampshire Highways and local landowners (on Andover’s estates this is often Testway Housing).

Recently Testway housing has been very helpful in dealing with tree issues on the estates and Hampshire Highways are promising action on potholes. However there is stil la lot more to be done. The pictures below show just some of the footpath problems reported on King Arthur’s Way over the past few weeks. I look forward to a speedy resolution of them.

Missing handrail Launcelot Close                                            Uneven footpath Galahad Close

Broken footpath Launcelot Close                                                    Dangerous footpath  Camelot Close

Speeding on King Arthur’s Way

A number of residents have commented about cars speeding along King Arthur’s Way particularly the straight stretch outside Knight’s Enham School. There is a 20’s plenty sign to the north of the main school entrance but it is in the wrong place, too close to the school gates and after the school crossing patrol at the northern entrance to the school grounds. It should be be moved further north, opposite the entrance to Meliot Rise, on the bend to remind drivers to slow down before they reach the crossing patrol.

I have raised this with the county schools department and our county councillor who has promised to follow up and get this sign moved to a better position.

Parking in Little London

Little London parking sign

Little London residents have raised concerns about parking in Ridges View and in particular the poor signs advising that parking is for residents only. I have spoken to Testway Housing about this and they agreed the current signs are very small and often hidden by parked cars. They will be ordering larger replacement signs and will install them as soon as they arrive.

Lillywhite Crescent Residents survey


I recently carried out a residents’ survey in the Lillywhite Crescent area in response to calls from a number of local residents. Results highlighted their concerns about traffic, youth nuisance and litter.

Respondents expressed concerns about speeding along Icknield Way, the use of this road by East Anton contractor traffic and the ineffectiveness of new traffic calming measures installed. I have been passed these comments on to the police, Hampshire Highways and the contractors. Contractor traffic is monitored and action taken against drivers using this route. The current traffic calming measures are the first stage of a program which will eventually see the north of Icknield Way closed to through traffic except buses and emergency vehicles. The completion of the scheme depends on building progress at East Anton.

Residents reported they were satisfied with measures taken by the police and wardens to control motor bikes and nuisance along Dark Lane although some problems still exist. The police nuisance vehicle campaign will continue throughout the summer and I am talking to council officers about other measures to make the path safer for walkers and cyclists.

Fly-tipped rubbish and garden waste has been removed from Icknield Way and Dark Lane and the area will be monitored to prevent re-occurrence. Council officers are investigating the possibility of extra dog waste and litter bins here and along the path to Viking Way.

A number of other issues were also raised including damaged signs, improvements to footpaths, 20 mph speed limits and graffiti. I have referred all of these to council officers for further investigation and action.

Graffiti removed

Graffiti is always unpleasant and unacceptable, particularly when it is racist or obscene. It lowers the tone of the area and degrades the communities who have to put up with it. I fully support the zero tolerance philosophy which argues that none is acceptable and that it must be removed as soon as it appears. I was pleased therefore to see that Hampshire Highways removed the graffiti at Enham Arch (below) on the same day I reported it.

Enham Arch graffiti

On the week starting 3rd August there is a CREW initiative in Cricketers Way and Roman Way. One of the issues council officers will deal with is graffiti. If you know of any problems in the area let me know and I will make sure it is removed.

And a second thank you to Hampshire Highways – on the same day I reported the graffiti I also asked for repairs to potholes in Galahad Close. The following day repairs, albeit temporary, were carried out.

Signs on the footpath

A common complaint from residents is about signs and other paraphernalia left outside shops and other establishments blocking the public footpaths. This is a particular problem to people with pushchairs, shopping trolleys and the disabled on mobility scooters.

The most recent complaint I received was about the sign below  in Junction Road.

Junction Road

I checked with Hampshire Highways who are responsible for local footpaths and their response was that they can take action about these boards if they are on the public highway but they tend to be light handed as shops regard the boards as an effective form of advertising. In general they will not give permission for this type of sign on the highway and if the sign is causing an obstruction they will ask for its removal.

However in many cases the demarcation between the public highway and private land is unclear and the pavement in front of shops is not  public highway but the private forecourt of the shop. Shop owners are entitled to put signs on their land. In this case part but not all of the pavement is the shop’s forecourt and they have agreed to keep the sign on that and not obstruct the highway. I thank them for their co-operation.