WITH the Brighton Hill roundabout finally opening just before Christmas, we’ve had a few people write into the Basingstoke Gazette, and I am keen to get people’s views on the ease of using it on foot and bicycle as well as by car.

According to social media, quite a few people have had problems navigating the roundabout by car.

I’ve found it relatively straightforward, the trick is to read the signs on approach and get in the correct lane for your exit before entering the roundabout. That said, I’m not sure we should be designing schemes that require people to pass their advanced driving test in order to navigate them.

But the real problem appears to be with pedestrian and cycle access. I am starting to see anecdotal evidence that fewer people are crossing the roundabout on foot or by bicycle since the underpasses were removed. We used to have 450 people use the Pizza Express underpass in the morning peak period. I managed to cross it while out running, but quite a few people I’ve talked to are scared to cross it.

Public consultations were overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the underpasses. When Hampshire Highways looked at the underpasses, they found that: 

1. Some of them had cracks requiring remedial work. 

2. When widening the roundabout they needed longer underpasses, which brought problems with the slope of the new ramps conforming to modern requirements, and difficulties accommodating curved paths to mitigate this.

3. The work required on them pushed up the cost of the scheme above £20m.

So I asked the project management to put in a footbridge connecting Brighton Hill to South Ham, and I was told it was “too difficult”, with a 6-metre height required under the bridge, and “too expensive”, with a figure of up to £8m plucked out of thin air.

Clearly, money is everything as far as Hampshire County Council are concerned, not least with 25 per cent of councils expected to issue a Section 114 notice for lack of money in the near future, and Hampshire being notoriously short of money having instituted 13 successive years of cuts.

But if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly, especially where road safety is concerned.

The county council has stated in successive Local Transport Plans and its Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Project that it wants to reduce car journeys and increase take-up of walking and cycling. It has a funny way of showing it with projects like Brighton Hill roundabout.

Cllr Andrew McCormick (he/him)

Labour, Brighton Hill

Warwick Road,


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