Thank you for your letter and attached petition dated 15 January 2017 in which I will respond to each of your points separately.
1) What progress has been made regarding recommendations in the East Hampshire Transport Statement adopted by Hampshire County Council in 2013?
The East Hampshire Transport Statement comprises a list of possible future schemes which may be delivered, subject to the availability of funding and prioritisation. It is not a list of recommendations for improvement. Funding is usually only available when taken as a result of a development in the area, and currently funding is not available for the measures you have mentioned. However, Petersfield has had some fairly substantial improvements recently including Lavant Street and the rail station forecourt, and the cycle route from the rail station to the Queen Elizabeth Country Park.
2) Has the Council audited safe walking routes from Stoneham Park, Stoneham Close and Beckham Lane to local schools?
Individual routes to each and every school across the County have not been assessed as to their safety. However, as part of the Education and Inspections Act, the county has previously audited highway infrastructure on a map layer so as to inform and enable parents to plan their routes as appropriate. This is supplemented by an online Journey Planning tool http://myjourneyhampshire.com/
The County Council also has a School Travel Planning Team that works with schools in a voluntary capacity to look at journeys to school and how things can be improved with education, promotion, enforcement, and where appropriate, with physical measures. The school is currently engaged with this team.
Where a child lives within the threshold that does not provide free travel to school, as per the Home to School Transport Entitlement Policy (page 4, point 188.8.131.52 – see below), then a parent can request that the local authority undertakes a risk assessment if they feel it is unsafe to walk to school (page 12, point 5.5).
“A pupil will be eligible for assistance where the distance from home1 to school, measured by a nearer available walking route2, is more than:
Two miles: for pupils up to the end of the school year in which they have their eighth birthday.
Three miles: for pupils from the beginning of the school year in which they have their ninth birthday.”
If the risk assessment deems the route is unsafe, then the local authority will provide free transport for that child. http://www3.hants.gov.uk/traveltoschool/school-transport.htm
Taking 36 Stoneham Park as a starting point, the infant/junior catchment schools to this address are either Petersfield Infant School or Herne Junior School.
As you will see from the attached maps, the walking route from Stoneham Park to the catchment schools is available (safe). However, the route from Stoneham Park to Langrish Primary is unavailable (unsafe) and was deemed as such by the Panel in September 2006. Please see the map in which the red line indicates the unsafe section of this route.
We would not expect many children from the Stone Park/Close and Beckham Lane to need to go to Langrish Primary, as it is not their catchment school or a nearer school. If there were no spaces available at catchment schools, Langrish Primary may be nearest with a space available and transport would be provided as the route is unsafe.
3) Has the Council looked at the Traffic Management Policy 2014 with regards to this stretch of road?
At the present time, the County Council’s traffic management (TM) team has no proposals for TM measures (such as pedestrian crossings and traffic calming) in Winchester Road at Petersfield. As part of an ongoing reduction in the County Council’s TM service, the County Council’s TM team is concentrating its efforts during the current 2016/2017 financial year on completing outstanding work commitments from previous financial years. In future financial years, priority for TM measures will primarily be given to those sites where there is an existing injury accident problem. During the current transitional period, possible sites for such measures are being logged for future reference.
For your advice and assistance, you will find below a link to the County Council’s recently approved future TM policy report which gives more details of the way forward for the TM service:
As per the above link, the recently approved policy scales back generally on the delivery of traffic management measures that do not clearly demonstrate a casualty reduction benefit. In particular, the County Council are scaling back work on lower speed limits, physical traffic calming measures and heavy goods vehicle controls unless required to support casualty reduction. Please note that the Traffic Management Policy & Guidance mentioned in your letter explains how traffic and safety issues are investigated and when traffic management measures may be appropriate. At a higher level, the recently approved policy endorses that casualty reduction is the County Council’s highest priority.
With regard to your concerns about excessive speed, you may like to contact the Police either via their publicly available 101 service or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org – the Police are responsible for speed enforcement generally and speed limit enforcement specifically.
4) What maintenance has taken place regarding signage on this stretch of road?
Signs only receive maintenance when they become damaged, excessively soiled or weathered. In particular it is agreed that both ‘Children Crossing’ signs have reached their end of life and should be renewed. Furthermore, we shall investigate the possibility of re-positioning the sign located near Rushes Road away from the foliage.
5) Why was the narrowing of the path on the North side of the road opposite Rushed Road allowed? What assessment was carried out to ensure this was considered safe?
We have no record of recent works to the culvert that has resulted in the narrowing of the path on the northern side of Winchester Road. Notwithstanding alterations to the grill and the addition of a flow monitor plant cabinet, the brickwork of the culvert headwall, which is the widest part of the culvert structure, has not been altered in recent years. (This can all be seen on Google Street view 2008 – 2016)
We are well aware funding is an issue but recently Section 106 agreements from Larcombe Road and Causeway Farm have meant developers have had to pay £298,885 and £700,000 to improve local highway projects. Additionally, the Business Park that is to be developed between Stoneham Close and Stoneham Park is also to allocate £236,555 towards Transport/Highways improvements.
Causeway Farm did secure £700,000 in transport contributions however it also listed specific schemes which the money could be spent on. The Larcombe Road scheme was not mentioned as a specific scheme so the money secured cannot be spent towards this. It was, however, requested in the highway authority’s response for Larcombe Road that a transport contribution of £298,855 be necessary for identified local improvements. The Stoneham Close/Park development you refer to is Buckmore Farm, for which the S106 is publically available and has been signed, and secured a maximum of £236,555 towards sustainable transport measures for the area.
I hope you find this information useful.
Councillor Rob Humby
Executive Member for Environment and Transport