The moved road coming from St Mary Bourne
The redirection of Smannell Road through the Augusta Park development is continuing to anger residents.
The busy route, leading to the villages of St Mary Borne and Smannell, used to follow the outskirts of the new development and away from the majority of homes, however it has recently been diverted through the built-up estate, leaving the previous road to be returned to green space.
Despite opposition from local Councillors and hundreds of residents, the Secretary of State for Transport agreed with the developer, Bellway Homes, and granted the Stopping Up Order in 2010.
However since the road was diverted in August residents have been faced with serious safety concerns relating to the speed of the vehicles passing through the estate and the HGVs that pass just feet from the front doors of the worst affected residents.
The lack of parking restrictions along the new road has resulted in cars parked on both sides, restricting it to a single lane, clogging traffic and increasing the risk of damage to parked cars. A source with in depth knowledge of the situation has told Andover and Villages that a public consultation will begin in Spring 2014 and will look at line painting and other measures with the potential for the new road to be formally adopted by Hampshire County Council later that year.
Resident Faye Cohen said “Double yellow lines won’t solve anything, they need speed bumps or speed barriers like they do on the avenue road (near the train station) better still, pull the stupid trees up they have planted and put the road back to how it was, let’s think of the safety of the residents and certainly all the young children who live here and have the right to be able to play out side like they use to! We chose to live on a new development not a forest!”
Numerous residents from the various villages near the development have also been angered by the new route taking them through a built up estate on their drive from Andover.
A spokesman for Bellway homes, who remain responsible for the road at present, said “All residents will have been informed that they would be living on the through road that the plan detailed, all plans for development would have been submitted and passed for approval by the local planing authority.”
Throughout our investigation Andover and Villages has found numerous lines of opposition to the developers plans dating back to the public enquiry in 2010. Former Test Valley Borough Councillor Len Gates wrote to the Planning Inspectorate to express his ‘extreme concerns‘, he confirms in his letter that this ‘dog-leg’ was engineered by the planning department to discourage people from driving from the new development toward Smannell.
In a further revelation Mr Gates states “A recent survey by Smannell Parish Council recorded 1275 vehicle movements in a twelve hour period. This traffic includes not just residential (car) traffic but also a number of heavy goods and agricultural vehicles. The volume and nature of this traffic was not fully understood when the original proposal was made.”
Despite the shocking revelation that the original proposal was based on incorrect data the planning inspectorate advised the Transport Secretary to go ahead and ‘stop up’ the original road. This leaves an important question unanswered, are the Department for Transport working in the interests of local residents – the people who pay for the department, or for large developers?
We asked the Department for Transport this question and submitted a freedom of information request for all the relevant correspondence regarding this development, however at the time of print no response has been received.
We also contacted Bellway’s Wessex area sales office, where an agent abruptly told our reporter “The residents knew what they were getting into, if they have a problem they should contact us directly.”
Residents however say the scale of the redirection was not apparent at the time they moved in.
Andover & Villages has formed an online petition to request that the road be put back in place, you can view and sign it by clicking on the following link:
Residents who wish to contact Bellway Homes Customer Care team can do so on 01425 477 666.
The view towards Andover where the Original Smannell Road lay
The new Smannell Road runs through a highly populated residential area
Busy through Traffic even on a Sunday afternoon
Cars speeding through on their way into Andover
Bellway Homes restrict parking for their sub contractors
Augusta Roundabout leading to the new Smannell Road
The new Smannell Road is lacking for local residents
The exit from the roundabout onto the new Smannell Road is a stopping place for passing traffic
The view towards Smannell where the Original Smannell Road lay