Braishfield Roads and Footpath Status – Repairs and New Plans

This report is produced with a view to acquainting Braishfield residents of the current situation regarding our roads and footpaths in the Village.
The Parish Council has been pursuing complaints concerning the poor state of the Braishfield Road surface with Hampshire County Council Highways Department following input by a large number of Braishfield residents whose homes are located along, and close to, the main Braishfield road. The complaints refer to vehicle traffic speeds generally and increasing use of the road by very heavy articulated lorries and aggregates trucks and, visiting agricultural vehicles such as large tractors with trailers delivering to local fields and farms from outlying areas. The noise and vibrations caused by such vehicles bouncing over the uneven surfaces along the road transmits itself to the foundations of residential buildings located within yards of the road. This state of affairs is worrying in the extreme to the owners of the older village properties who are concerned about structural damage.
Councillors, Prince and Bevan, met with Mr Scott Gregory of Hampshire County Council (HCC) Highways Department in Braishfield with a view to acquainting him, in situ, with the problems we face here. He was shown those areas along our roads which cause concern, including the poor state of road markings and certain of our roadside footpaths. Our councillors expressed the view that Braishfield Road had not been re-surfaced in many years and was now well over-due for that work to be carried out. Mr Gregory was sympathetic and agreed that work was needed. HCC have responded to the concerns in that they have “spot” repaired some of the more significant surface damage during the last few weeks during late November. Priorities and budgets being what they are though, we await word from them about the possibility of HCC scheduling a new road surface for Braishfield Road during next year 2016. Villagers can be assured that the Parish Council will not let this requirement go to sleep. Excessive traffic speeds in the village along the straight stretch between the Wheatsheaf pub to Megana Way and down to Crook Hill continue to cause alarm and, subject to villager’s views and input, the Parish Council are of the opinion that some kind of speed deterrent, possibly in the form of chicanes, should be considered. But this needs consultation with residents for their views and opinions.
The increasing pedestrian use of Crook Hill beyond the Dog and Crook pub, by adults and school children now walking to and from drop-off points is a worry given the weight of traffic up and down the hill. Excessive speeds are becoming a real danger to pedestrians using the hill and the need for a footpath is now urgent. The planned footpath from the Dog and Crook to the access to Crook Hill Farm is financed under some of the S106 monies provided by the Abbotswood development. Villagers should be aware that this identified S106 money is to be released for the work to establish the footpath when the 600th house is occupied in Abbotswood Estate. We are advised by Test Valley BC, that this situation has now almost been arrived at and as such we can expect work to begin on the new footpath in the very near future. Hillier’s have sought closure of the 1a Footpath, which runs through Crook Hill farm between Braishfield Rd and Hillier’s Arboretum, against its replacement by a new footpath around the boundary of the Arboretum estate along Braishfield Rd past the new roundabout to their Jermyns Lane entrance. This footpath will, on completion, link all of Braishfield Road to Hillier’s main entrance. The No 66 Bus to Winchester and Romsey stops at the Hillier’s entrance.
New work to re-align the junction of Common Hill Road adjacent to the School entrance will also begin in the early part of 2016 after plans have been formalised and agreed with the available S106 monies made available prior to the occupation of 4 of the 9 new houses in Oak Close. This re-alignment is to straighten out the junction in order to force vehicles to halt before turning and to reduce the speed of vehicles joining from Braishfield Road. A crossing is a likely addition to facilitate safer access to the school from the South side of Common Hill Road.
The important thing to understand is that the PC is actively trying to improve our roads and footpaths and manage traffic issues such as speed, noise and destructive vibration. There is much evidence that traffic is increasing and the burgeoning building plans surrounding our village and rural area is only going to cause more vehicle and pedestrian traffic here in Braishfield. The PC is pursuing Higher Authority to improve our situation and residents can be assured we will not give up on that mission.

John Bevan (Councillor). 20/12/2015