Newtown Parish Council has request to install a SID on the B4640, Newtown Straight refused by Hampshire County Council
Newtown Parish Council has had its request to place a speed indicator device (SID) on the B4640 – better known as the Newtown Straight – denied by Hampshire County Council.
The 50mph road stretches from Tot Hill Services to the A339 roundabout by The Swan Inn, and the parish council wishes to place the SID it owns on it because of speeding fears.
It launched a petition to have the SID installed last November and this has now gained more than 1,000 signatures.
Despite this, Hampshire County Council has refused to allow the device to be placed on the B6460, its reasoning being that Hampshire Highways does not allow SIDs to be used on roads where the speed limit is 50mph or higher.
Several residents on the Newtown Straight have voiced their concerns about the road and the frustration they are feeling with the county council.
Karen Sirett-Kelly and her family experienced a personal tragedy when their pet dog was run over last year, something she believes could have been prevented if more traffic calming measures were in place.
She said: “The visibility pulling out into the main road is very limited and with the high speed that cars and large lorries thunder over the brow of the hill this becomes very dangerous indeed.
“Additionally there is constant damage to our fences due to the vibration from the heavy loads that pass by.
“And most significantly of all, we lost our beloved little puppy Bella last spring.
“This caused, as you can imagine, significant distress to our family as well as the driver.
“The vet reported that had she been hit at a lower speed, it is likely she would have survived.
“And she is not the only animal casualty, every few weeks we find dead baby deer and other small animals along on the road.
“The refusal to allow us to even conduct some data gathering into this issue just due to it not being policy is madness.
“If we only even stuck to policy and the norm then most of our civil advancements would never have happened.”
Julian Roskill also lives along the Newtown Straight.
He said: “First, there has been a considerable and noticeable increase in the volume of traffic on the B4640 because it is now used as a commuter route from Tot Hill Services on to the A339 at The Swan Inn and because heavy vehicles now have to use the road as they are not allowed to go through Newbury.
“It often takes us several minutes getting out of our drive.
“Secondly, as there is about a mile of straight road, the speed of traffic is well above 50mph and cars regularly overtake across hatched lines.
“When the road is clear, the downdraught caused by lorries travelling at 50mph is felt when walking along the path by the side of the road which may frighten walkers.
“There are also noisy motorcycles that race along the road at speeds in excess of 70mph.
“It would not surprise me if one day there is a serious accident.”
Andrew Wilkinson, another concerned Newtown resident, said: “With the coming of spring on fine days also comes the sound, not of birdsong, but of the sound of high powered motorbikes and cars beginning their race up the Newtown Straight.
“Whilst a speed indicator may not solve this problem, at least by recording the speed of vehicles, the results might persuade the council and police to actually do something about it.”
Newtown Parish Council vice chair Tom Reseigh sent several of these concerns to Hampshire county councillor Nick Adams-King.
Mr Adams-King responded to Mr Reseigh in an email and stated: “I have asked officers to review, I fear the outcome is unlikely to change our position, but we will revert to you with a detailed response in due course.”