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Rooksdown residents angry as roads turn into rat-runs
RESIDENTS who have waited seven years for measures to be implemented to prevent through-traffic driving past their houses, have voiced their anger at a parish council meeting.
Emotions were running high at Rooksdown Parish Council’s annual general meeting, where a group of householders blasted developers Taylor Wimpey for dragging its heels, and criticised Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council for failing to take enforcement action.
As part of its agreed plans to build the estate, Taylor Wimpey was meant to install bus gates which would prevent the area being used as a rat-run. But seven years later, householders are still waiting for something to be done.
A traffic survey conducted in February 2013 showed that the entrances and exits to Rooksdown were already at “saturation point”, with much of the traffic cutting through to reach Basingstoke hospital.
The issue was reported in The Gazette a year ago, and Taylor Wimpey said at the time that it would work with highways consultants at Hampshire County Council to investigate a “traffic management solution” which it would fund.
But parish council chairman Colin Statham said the matter had now been further delayed because of an unexpected tree survey, following a meeting in which he was told the plans were ready to be submitted. He added: “It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Rooksdown borough councillor Karen Cherrett said: “I suspect it was pulled because further information came to light which called for a tree survey.”
Wayne Aylott, 45, an accountant from Park Prewett Road, bought his house seven years ago in the belief that through-traffic would be prevented from driving past.
The father-of-one said: “It should have been put in before any residents came. The developer chose not to put it in, and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council chose not to enforce it.”
He added: “How can it be that seven years later we are still talking about an application coming from Taylor Wimpey?
“How can we still be in this state?”
Cllr Cherrett said she was unable to say when the plans would be implemented, adding: “You can sit here and make as many demands as you want, but I can’t say if it will be complete this year, or next, or by 2020.”
Mike Townsend, planning and development manager at the borough council, said: “The planning condition was not complied with for a variety of reasons relating to the practical implementation of a suitable bus gate scheme.”
He added that the council had worked with various parties to “bring forward a suitable alternative proposal to effectively manage traffic across the development.”
Ed O’Mara, a spokesman for Taylor Wimpey, said a planning application has now been submitted.
He added: “A great deal of work has taken place with parish, district and county councils and other partner agencies over recent months in the preparation of the application, and we are confident that the proposals will deliver the right traffic-management solution for the community.”
If permission is granted, work will begin later this year.
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