Bramley Parish Council Noticeboard

Transport Update September 2013

Transport Update, September 2013

Programme of Future Development

The Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) Steering Group is focussed on gathering views and opinions on how Bramley may evolve or be developed up to 2029.  The Parish Council will continue to focus on the current programme covering the next two years or so, and the NDP will focus on the issues and challenges from 2015 – 2029, linking recommendations to the Borough Local Plan.  Once the NDP has completed its work, its findings will be offered to the PC for further consideration.  Strategic transport developments such as changes to road layouts are the sole responsibility of HCC – the PC is a consultee and the views of Parish Councillors will be heard.

Current Transport Concerns

Activity along the C32 and the behaviour of drivers and cyclists in Bramley is a common cause of complaint to the PC.  We have made some progress, however there is always more that can be done.  We have a good relationship with HCC and Borough Officers and can often influence the argument, however please be aware that mostly we are consulted and have little authority over the final decision.  This year the most complained-about issue is pot-holes near the 'pinch points' and HCC has been asked to do a robust job to repair and strengthen the offending sites.  There has been temporary work to reduce the hazard; sadly the C32 through Bramley East won’t be fully resurfaced for a number of years although Officers will continue to visit and monitor the condition of the road.

Cascading Current Issues - The PC have asked HCC to resolve seven specific issues

·                Village Boundary Signs.  There is ongoing concern due to damage to signs and sign clutter at both ends of the village; further action is required.

HCC Comment: HCC maintenance engineer completed a full review and 'amalgamation' on to less posts etc, but that was around four years ago.  Since then there's been a lot of work in Bramley, with a variety of new features and their new signs, which may have well led to there being too many posts once again.  HCC Engineer has liaised with Capital Programme Team; they have agreed to provide a small sum of money to pay for a Traffic Management engineer to visit the village for a few hours and provide advice on the situation with regards to signage and the opportunities to reduce it, or amalgamate signs on to fewer posts. Action still pending.

·                Rural Style Footpath.  Addition of a "rural" style footway across the open space by the Bramley Lane / Sherfield Road junction. Hopefully this will be completed during 2013.

·                Pedestrian Features.  Addition of pedestrian features across the junction of Phaeben's Field.  Hopefully this will be completed during 2013.

·                Drop Kerbs.  Access to the path from German Road and the need for additional Drop Curbs.

·                Railway Crossing.  Safety Issues and pedestrian protection at the railway crossing point on the C32.

·                Danger at Farriers Close Pinch Point.

HCC Comment: The Farriers Close pinch point will be kept under review, HCC are interested to see how it works with the new warning markings on the road that were installed relatively recently.  The post-construction independent safety audit recommended these as an addition, feeling that they would make the feature safer.

·                Speed Limits approaching Bramley.  Concerns have been raised with regard to the speed some cars and lorries approach the 30 MPH zone (north from Bramley Corner up Ash Lane and Bramley Rd).

HCC Comment: There is an intention to extend the thirty MPH zone and make some derestricted into a forty MPH zone, for which the plan is to proceed shortly.  Further information will be provided before any comment is requested, but this is a warning to expect to be consulted on this issue.

 

Future Projects

NDP.  The NDP Steering Group are seeking the views of the community on future transport issues linked with housing development.  During 2014 further consultation with HCC will be sought to explore what is achievable with varying levels of S106/CIL monies.

 

Briefing Note:  Footbridge at the Bramley Rail Level Crossing 25 Jun 13 (No Change)

There are many groups in the Bramley who have different views on a possible footbridge, its location, its configuration, its purpose and its cost and who should pay.  The Parish Plan asked residents in 2012 whether they wished a footbridge; 448 responded > 70% said they would like to see a footbridge. 10% had no opinion & 86 14% said no.  While there were many comments about the level crossing congestion and barrier down time there were very few references to a footbridge.  The residents were not commenting on a specific proposal and it is likely there are a range of potential options depending on the requirements of the individual.

The issue of a footbridge has been on the PC radar for 3-5 years (maybe longer).  2-3 years ago HCC liaised with Network Rail who were not very helpful but indicated that any solution would have to be part funded by the community and be integrated with other rail development work which tends to be planned in 5 year chunks.  We asked HCC Transport to consider, through a Feasibility Study, the Road/Rail/Path interface at the level crossing; we were, and are, concerned about safe movement of people and in particular children.

HCC confirmed discussions with Network Rail have taken place and funding options were discussed.  The Transport Planning Team stated that until additional funding is identified feasibility work cannot be taken any further forward.  The Transport Planning Team will record the Bramley community wish a full feasibility study to consider erecting a foot bridge over the railway which would result in a formal proposal for PC consideration; they will keep an eye out for funding opportunities such as through a combination of Government, HCC or B&DBC Grants, or Network Rail initiatives.

As indicated there is significant detailed work and consultation (not just locally) to be done before any option or proposal for a footbridge could be considered; at the moment the idea is stored for future consideration should appropriate funding become available or if external bodies such as Network Rail make proposals.  The Network Rail development plan for the Reading to Basingstoke line are not published but are due to be considered as part of the national plan and should be available soon - we are expecting electrification and upgrades 2014-2019 (TBC) - this may provide an opportunity for new funding and consultation for a range of options to improve the rail road interface in Bramley.

Sherfield Rd/Campbell Rd Junction Improvement as at September 2013

HCC are fully aware of certain local feelings to the proposed junction improvement which have been raised on several occasions over the past few years that they have been working on the scheme.

As part of the overall package of traffic calming and related road safety in Bramley it was agreed that some of the money provided by German Road developers should be spent on a new roundabout at the junction of Campbell Road and Sherfield Road (C32), in addition to other calming schemes throughout the village.  The purpose of the scheme is to overcome the safety and operational issues that exist at the current Sherfield Road/Campbell Road priority junction.

There was extensive consultation prior to the decision which included at least three public meetings in Bramley attended by HCC representatives.  At a parish council meeting last year, which was also attended by representatives from HCC and was open to the public, the parish council resolved to support, by majority vote, the proposed scheme. The matter was discussed again at the PCM June 2013 attended by the HCC client services manager.

At this meeting it became clear that during the consultation period, and as part of a land purchase negotiation, HCC have been obliged by the Stratfield Saye Estate (SSE) to add a fourth junction to the planned roundabout for agricultural access into the field.  We became aware of this and made a further representation to HCC insisting that the parish council only wanted three exits and we felt there should be no fourth exit into the field owned by the SSE.

While the PC has stated it has concerns about this revision to the proposal, as just one of the many consultees it has no power to enforce a change to the plan and HCC are responsible for decisions relating to this scheme.  The need for the roundabout continues to be traffic calming and road safety; and on this basis has been approved by the parish council.

While HCC understand the sensitivities about the fourth exit, they are satisfied that there is currently no proposal to develop the land in this area.  Should an application for development be forthcoming, it would not be difficult for a developer to add an exit as part of their infrastructure plans so it is felt that the inclusion of a further exit within the scheme is not indicative of any future intentions, other than that which has been stated by the landowner.

Additional Road Markings

B&DBC Officers are still working towards September dates for introduction of the Experimental Traffic Order on roads near the station and public advertisement of the Traffic Order at Bramley Lane/Moat Close.  Documentation is being prepared for instructing the council’s Public Law team to process the statutory Notices and public advertisements.  

Railway crossing safety

During recent discussions with the Headteacher we agreed there is a concern over the safety of children at the railway level crossing; we agreed I would seek the views of HCC and Borough Officers to see what actions could be considered.  In particular the following suggestions were made:

·         Yellow hatching to ensure cars are aware of the hazard of entering a specified zone – especially when heading west to east as vehicle in front choose to turn right into the bakery;

·         Railings similar to outside the school to ensure pedestrians are constrained; and

·         Bus Stop type protection against the elements.

 

Footpaths 

I have begun to research the footpaths which cross our Parish.  I have borrowed maps which show Bramley and its footpaths in 1911 and beyond.  As with all these things the issue often descends into liability and burden sharing.  I have established the maintenance of stiles and gates is the responsibility of the landowner, HCC check that they are safe and easy to use.  New stiles and gates require authorisation.  HCC encourage the replacement of stiles with kissing gates or gaps, so paths can be used more easily; there is no obligation on the landowner to make allowance for dogs to get through stiles.

I have been introduced to a number of people who have significant information on the history of this region and in particular the origins and sustainment of footpaths.  The Rights of Way homepage - Hampshire County Councilwww.hants.gov.uk/row.htm ‘Rights of Way. "Mapping Hampshire's countryside’ has significant information on liability and responsibility. There are a number of specific places where action is required to make stiles safer.

The cutting of vegetation along the official footpaths is a responsibility of HCC but managed by the PC.  I am advised HCC respond to requests rather than systematically visiting all paths.  HCC produces an annual cutting list of the paths which are considered the highest priority to cut. This list comprises those paths which in the past Parish Councils have nominated as their highest priority, as well as those paths which are most regularly reported to the County Council as overgrown.

There has been concern with regard to cars parking on and obstructing pavements. The requirement to not obstruct a pavement is clear however it is acceptable for cars to partially mount the curb so long as there is sufficient space for a push chair to pass. 

 

Cinder track lights

New lights were installed along the Cinder Track from the Bakery to the German Road Estate but they have been vandalised. The PC has instigated repair and protective measures to be completed asap.  The new tarmaced area has begun to wear – HCC has been asked to review the location and complete maintenance work. 

 

Rail Issues

I have had discussion with the NDP team and produced extensive notes relevant to future NDP work.  The PC agreed to seek a second visit to the Basingstoke Signal Box to further understand the policy and process as to how and when the level crossing barriers are raised and lowered. 

There is a long term concern that electrification and the increased use by freight trains will increase the time the barriers are down.  The options for rail bridges and tunnel and rerouting are expected to be considered as part of the NDP.

The issue of a footbridge has been widely discussed; without new funding no additional work is expected to be conducted by HCC.

The need for a railway car park is enduring and won’t be solved in the near future.  The NDP may make proposals with regard to the location of the railway station, its surrounding area and the location of a railway station car park.  This matter has been on the PC agenda for many years; the temporary efforts to reduce the problem are the HCC work completed near Moat Close and outside the Primary School and the plan to add further street markings – mentioned elsewhere in this note.

 

Agenda Item for September PCM.  Agenda Item 8 (Part A) is a Transport Update focussing specifically on the Campbell Road roundabout.

Agenda Item for September PCM.  Authority will be sought to rent or procure a Speed Limit Reminder (SLR) or a Speed Indication Device (SID).  Last year the PC agreed to earmark funds but to wait until most of the traffic calming measures were in place before making a decision on additional measures to discourage speeding in the restricted areas in and around Bramley.  One option was to encourage a Community Speedwatch Team (CSW); sadly insufficient volunteers came forward to make the programme viable; the alternative was to purchase of rent passive SLR/SID devices.  If funding is approved to rent or buy the SLR/SID devices will indicate speed to motorists; they will be placed on existing poles alternatively at each end of the village.  The Police have also agreed to continue to use enforcement devices.

 

 

Chris Holland

Parish Councillor

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017