A PUBLIC consultation on the prospect of a permanent ban on vehicles crossing a notorious ford on the Berkshire Hampshire border ends on September 12.
Middlesex judge Jonathan Gammon was swept away and drowned in flash floods at Headley Ford over the river Enborne, in Thornford Road, after following sat-nav instructions in October 2012.
The ford was closed following an inquest into Mr Gammon’s death and remained shut to traffic – except for local access – following a prohibition of driving order, made on December 16, 2014.
It was revealed in May that Hampshire County Council (HCC) was considering tighter restrictions at the ford, including the installation of a gate, to enforce a permanent ban on vehicles crossing the ford, except for agricultural vehicles.
Now HCC and West Berkshire Counci have proposed a permanent ban. The traffic regulation order will redress issues, including a history of vehicles becoming stranded in the ford.
There has been a sharp rise in the number of such incidents since the advent of satellite navigation.
In June, a vehicle had to be pulled out after it became stuck in 18 inches of water. A family of five also had to be rescued from a stranded vehicle in November last year.
Even Hampshire Constabulary were left red-faced after one of its vehicles had to be retrieved.
Hampshire County Council is now proposing to further restrict access to the ford with the proposal of a new traffic order.
The 2014 traffic order prohibiting vehicles from using the ford, except for access, had since been ignored and will be revoked, prior to the permanent ban.
“We propose to prohibit all vehicles, except tractors, from using the ford, which will be enforced by a new order and gates,” WBC revealed in a statement.
The order seeks to “prevent access by standard motor vehicles to Headley Ford situated on Thornford Road to prevent serious risk to life”.
The proposal will see a section of approximately 400 metres of Thornford Road made accessible only to tractors or vehicles used for agricultural or forestry purposes, which are capable of crossing the River Enborne safely.
All objections should be sent, before the September 12 deadline, quoting reference A980/MB, to Stuart Jarvis, Director of Economy, Transport and Environment, The Castle, Winchester, SO23 8UD or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thatcham Town Council has backed the proposal, with deputy leader Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central) saying he supported the move on road safety grounds.
Steve Ardagh-Walter (Con, Thatcham West) said that the proposal seemed very sensible and practicable.