VILLAGERS are up in arms over the council's refusal to lower the speed limit through North Waltham.

Councillors joined residents in a protest by the picturesque pond on Wednesday, June 9.

The group has described Hampshire County Council's refusal to introduce the 20mph speed limit as "scandalous".

Youngsters carried emotive placards reading, "kill your speed, not me" at the event, organised by North Waltham Speed Reduction and Safety Working Group.

Hugo Ward, the man behind the demo, said: “I have two young children and I am terrified for their safety. Many of the village roads are single lane, there are few pavements and a busy local primary school.

"I find it scandalous that Hampshire County Council continues to refuse a 20mph restriction in the village—especially when 90 per cent of villagers support this.”

Hampshire County Council has been contacted for comment.

The authority previously argued that 20mph limits "don't work".

But this is not a view shared by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents which argues the wider use of 20mph limits have been shown to reduce traffic speed and can "greatly improve" the character of a residential area and quality of life of the residents.

Gary Whiteside, a former parish councillor, told The Gazette: “Covid-19 changed everything as everything slowed down on our roads and people felt safer. The village started to walk, run cycle and horse-ride in greater numbers than ever before. Quality of life and cleaner air really improved for a while. Sadly, as the speeding traffic returned, much of this disappeared.”

Cllr Juliet Henderson, who represents the ward for Hampshire County Council, said: “I share residents' and school parents' concerns about the current speed limit through the village. It is clear that the current 30mph should be lowered to 20mph due to the narrow roads and volume of traffic passing through the village.”

Residents fear for the safety of their children, many of whom walk or cycle to primary school.

Cllr Diane Taylor, who represents the village for Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council, added: “We are seeing a great deal of expansion in the South West of Basingstoke. It is therefore more important than ever to guard the integrity and safety of our villages.”

There are also concerns that the village is becoming a rat-run in part due to the route often suggested by Google Maps to bypass traffic.