Residents of Kingsclere packed in to the Fielding Centre for a public meeting chaired by Sir George Young on Friday evening (October 1st)
The meeting had been convened by Cllr Cathy Osselton and Anthony Grayer, a resident who had done research into the impact of Heavy Goods Vehicles on road safety and on its impact on buildings.
Speaking at the meeting were Marc Samways from Hampshire County Council and Acting Sergeant Jay Hewes, as well as a representative from Environmental Health at Basingstoke & Deane. The meeting lasted nearly 2 hours, and after the presentation of the case for the introduction of a ban by Anthony Greayer, the statutory authorities - district and county council and the police - responded.
"In the view of Hampshire County Council, the conditions for introducing an HGV ban in Kingsclere are not currently met. This news was greeted with disappointment by those at the meeting, who have to put up with a growing volume of HGVs going through their village. Residents spoke with feeling about near misses involving themselves and their children, and about the impact of lorries on buildings particularly in Swan Street".
Sir George said that he would write to John Stacey & Sons, to see if they might redirect those vehicles which go from Tadley to Andover and Whitchurch along the A339 and A34, instead of going through Kingsclere. Sir George also said he would write to the Cabinet Member for Highways at Hampshire County Council, Cllr Mel Kendle, to see if he would agree to a follow-up meeting involving officials from Hampshire County Council, Basingstoke & Deane, and elected councillors from Kingsclere Parish and from Basingstokoe & Deane representing the village.
"It was clear from the meeting that residents are simply not happy with the status quo. There was an appetite for the introduction of 20mph speed limits, and for putting up signs indicating that the roads were unsuitable for heavy goods vehicles. People were cautious about the introduction of bollards, mainly because there is not the space on many of the pavements".
"I am very grateful to Anthony Greayer and Cathy Osselton for arranging the meeting, and for all the work that went in. The survey carried out by Hampshire County Council was useful, but people would like more detailed data about heavy goods vehicles".
I am grateful to Rachel Theaker for the fuller minutes of the meeting below
Public Meeting held on 1st October, 2010 at Fieldgate Centre, Kingsclere to consider if there is a case for introducing a weight restriction for vehicles using Kingsclere village roads.
Present:- Sir George Young, M.P., (Chairman), County Councillor K. Chapman, Borough Councillor Mrs. C. Ossleton, Parish Councillor P. Goff, Mr. A. Greayer, Mr. Tom Payne, Environmental Protection Manager,(Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council), Messrs. Andrew Kettlewell and Marc Samways, (Hampshire County Council) and Acting Sergeant Jay Hewes (Hampshire Police) together with approximately 100 residents.
Sir George Young introduced the speakers and thanked Councillor Osselton and Mr. Greayer for arranging the meeting, which had been called to discuss the problems caused by the size, weight and number of such vehicles passing through Kingsclere and to seek a solution.
Councilor C. Osselton
Councillor Osselton explained that a large number of people had complained to her about the lorries travelling along Swan Street, George Street and Newbury Road which were using the village as a rat run. She thanked the public for coming to the meeting.
Councillor P. Goff
Councillor Goff stated that he came to Kingsclere some 15/16 years ago and since that time the traffic situation had become considerably worse.
PRESENTATION OF THE CASE FOR A BAN
Mr. Anthony Greayer
The Working Group has established evidence that HGVs are using the village streets as a short cut to the A34, A33 and M3. Two approaches were used to ascertain the extent of the problem.
Hampshire County Council was asked to carry out a series of surveys of speed, weight and volume of traffic. These were completed at the end of last month.
Questionnaires were also sent to residents of George and Swan Streets and to the parents of children attending Busy Bees and the Primary School.. The questionnaires were designed to determine whether a case existed for a TRO (Traffic Regulation Order) covering Kingsclere roads.
84 questionnaires were sent to householders and there was a 64% response from which it was ascertained that property was suffering through a considerable increase in the volume and size of vehicles.
42 parents responded to their questionnaires. All were concerned about the speed of traffic in Swan Street, George Street and Newbury Road. 41 were concerned about the size and numbers of the HGVs using these roads.
Both types of questionnaires produced a wealth of comments supporting the need for action and from that evidence the Working Group concluded that there was a strong case for a TRO.
Mr. Tom Payne, Environmental Protection Manager, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
The Borough Council has a legal duty to review air quality on a yearly basis. The two main pollutants of concern to local authorities are nitrogen dioxide and particles, the main sources for which are road traffic, aircraft, industry and domestic sources
Nine monitoring boxes were put up over the year 2009/10 which gave a reading of 15,000 vehicle movements per day for the A339 and 3,000 vehicles per day through Kingsclere. The study also found that traffic flows along Swan Street and Fox’s Lane were not above the threshold set out in the guidance. The only area of slight concern for air pollution was near Headley, but in Kingsclere there were no air quality issues that would breach the national standards.
SUMMARY OF TRAFFIC SURVEYS AND HCC POLICY FOR HGV RESTRICTIONS
Mr. Andrew Kettlewell, Hampshire County Council
There was only one slight injury accident in Kingsclere in 5 years. It occurred near Anchor Road. There have been no injury accidents involving HGVs and other sized delivery vehicles. Injury accidents are not happening in Kingsclere and we must address problems happening and not those, which are not happening.
24 hour surveys were undertaken at the beginning of September. In terms of the 20 mile per hour speed limit Newbury Road met the criteria but there were no speeding breaches there. There is a slight problem in Basingstoke Road. However, if speed limits are reduced there will be a need to put more signs up, therefore a lot more signs in Kingsclere.
A traffic survey was undertaken at the top of George Street and also a distance survey off the A339 to the junction with the Overton road. During a period of 12 hours there were 67 HGVs on Swan Street – less than one every ten minutes. This did not include buses, smaller vehicles, rubbish trucks or tractors. 14% of the HGVs were found to move between Kingsclere and Overton without stopping. This figure would increase if the Whitchurch and Old Burghclere Roads were included.
Mr Marc Samways, Hampshire County Council
There had been a considerable increase in the use of freight across the UK. There were also issues associated with satellite navigation.
Kingsclere’s problems in particular are vehicles on footpaths, speed of traffic, damage to buildings, noise and vibration, volume of traffic.
There are two main types:-
1. Environmental – can only be set at 7.5 tons and 18 tons.
2. Structural weight limits – some roads have weak bridges, etc.
Weight restrictions require Police enforcement and Traffic Regulation Orders. They may be subject to abuse.
The County Council has a policy in relation to weight restrictions: 1. here is a need to allow access for HGVs for deliveries, etc. 2. Roads carrying less than 20 HGVs over a 10 hour period are not considered. 3. A satisfactory alternative route must exist. Kingsclere does not meet this policy. Only a proportion of vehicles are using the village as a run through and weight restrictions would not reduce the volume of traffic.
Speed surveys indicated a good level of compliance but there is a slight issue in Basingstoke Road. In Swan Street three vehicles were recorded at between 41-46 mph in a 24 hr. period over 7 days.
What can be considered?
Signs “Unsuitable for HGVs” can be considered. These are advisory signs and there has to be an alternative route available. This would not be suitable for Swan Street but perhaps for Fox’s Lane.
Bollards would provide protection for pedestrians and would also help to reduce speeds. They would make the village less attractive to HGVs but cost £300-£500 each.
What else can be considered?
Carriageway lining changes.
Sat Nav contacts for road information.
Co-operation of local businesses.
Local residents could get in touch with companies using the roads.
Councillor Ossleton read a report from Mr. Jon Willetts, saying that the Borough Council sympathised with the owners of the properties within the village, but unfortunately the issue of limiting highway traffic was not something conservation can control. However, if evidence garnered from the meeting revealed that damage to the listed and historic properties within the village was being caused by the high frequency of heavy vehicles, they would lend their support to such findings, but without this evidence base they cannot lead on this issue.
ENFORCEMENT OF HGV RESTRICTIONS
Acting Sergeant Hewes, Hampshire Police.
Kingsclere is not alone in what is happening in the countryside, Midhurst and Petworth are suffering more. From an enforcement point of view the Police can only enforce when the correct signage and traffic orders are in place. The Police ask for certain areas to be assessed and aim for casualty reduction. Guilty drivers get a fixed penalty of £30. The accident record in Kingsclere is superb. So far as speed is concerned we ask for data from HCC. The speed of drivers in Kingsclere is very good but Basingstoke Road could be targeted.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Councillor K. Chapman – Can something be done about the number of Staceys’ lorries going through Kingsclere to Andover?
Swan St. Resident – My children are frightened to go out of the front door, one lorry very nearly hit her child. Please help us to find a way to top the number of lorries going through Swan Street.
Fox’s Lane resident – How much of a survey did you do on Fox’s Lane? Since the Newbury by pass was built traffic comes off at Tothill and cuts through Fox’s Lane.
A – No HGV survey was carried out on Fox’s Lane.
K. Watts – representing Overton and Whitchurch Parish Councils – Vehicles are travelling inappropriately. He supports Kingsclere’s view. We need a sensible solution for all and should collectively work together to get something done.
P. Woodman – In 2006 DoT issued a directive to review speed limits. The Parish Council wrote to HCC asking what they were going to do. This issue has been raised every year. HCC responded by saying their consultants have reviewed the B.3051 and found the need for speed limits. Andrew Kettlewell is working with the Parish Council on a 20 mph speed limit through Kingsclere.
Mrs. F. Sawyer, Swan Street – Can you take this up for us. All the villages are suffering. It needs to come from the top.
Sir George Young - Yes. I will write to Staceys. We have identified one significant contributor to the problem. Nationally we have delegated to HCC and Borough Councils the responsibility for County roads. I do not want to centralise this problem. Do you want to pursue blue signs “Not suitable for HGVs” and look at Sat Navs?
A. Denness, Swan Street. – On September 20 there were at least 22 movements of Staceys lorries through the village that day. For the three days the counts were done there were none. There is a very suitable alternative route through to the Swan roundabout to the Newtown straight . It is 6.2 miles extra, still within the 75% marker.
Alan Hambridge, Fox’s Lane – Did you check the speed limits in Fox’s Lane?
A – The average speed limit in Fox’s lane was 30 mph.
Police – If you think there is an issue it must be reported to us, preferably by
way of letter. We will then ask for more surveys to be carried out.
Miss Holley, Swan Street. - Her house is only 1 metre from the road, lorries have struck the drain pipe, cannot open windows properly, lorries pull up outside window blocking out light, dangerous to step outside her door. Never been in such danger before. Very frightening.
Dr. David Ossleton – The survey is so limited to be scientifically illiterate.
Resident – Kevin was killed and we then had the bypass. Do we have to wait for a child to be killed before you stop what is going on in Swan Street?
Resident, Priory House – With all the surveys, etc. how long is it going to be before anything happens? Do we have a time limit before we see action?
Mrs. J. Bond – Our quality of life in this village has gone. Pressure of letters to the offender could have an effect. Please all write to John Stacey.
Resident 15 Swan Street – Why have the authorities not stopped lorries parking on double yellow lines in Swan Street. When can they park on single yellow lines?
Mrs. Denness, Swan Street – Do we have to have another fatality before we act?
Resident, Popes Hill. – Length of lorries, some are 40ft long and cannot get round without going on the kerb. Another was 23ft. long with another trailer on the back. Can you take steps so that at least they can be stopped?
Police- Double yellow lines are enforceable. Single yellow lines are for vehicles loading and unloading.
HCC – In response to the issue about the accuracy of the surveys, the black boxes used for data collection are very accurate. With regard to the accuracy of the HGV surveys, these are manual counts undertaken by staff.
MR. A GREAYER
Mr. Greayer thanked HCC for coming to the meeting and producing the evidence. He said that the public would like the traffic count to be carried out over a number of days. The HCC’s own policy criteria for considering a weight limits TRO simply miss the issues: We feel in danger. The buildings are being damaged. The character of the village would be enhanced if we have the restrictions. We have not heard a sufficient response from HCC to justify refusing to consider a TRO. We need to have a much longer survey. I do feel convinced that we have a strong case for it.
Sir George Young – Where do we go from here?
1. Bollards - NO
2. Blue Signs – YES
3. Speed Limits – YES
HGVs – Kingsclere does not meet HCC’s criteria.
Do you agree we should look at the HGV issue – YES
Sir George said he would get in touch with the Cabinet Member for Highways at HCC, Councillor Mel Kendel to convene a meeting with HCC officials, Borough and Parish Councillors, to look at the HGV issue, speed limits and blue signs. There was also a need for better data. We do not take no to a TRO, we then have a further meeting later on to report progress on the issues. Sir George would also write to John Stacey and Sons to see if they would agree to use an alternative route from Tadley to Andover.