SEVEN Hart Tory councillors claim that a "disastrous" traffic calming scheme at Fleet is threatening the lives of road users.

They have called on Hampshire County Council to remove the chicanes in Elvetham Road before someone is killed or seriously injured.

But fellow Conservative John Stocks, county councillor for the ward, has accused them of "pontificating" and playing politics over the issue.

He said on Monday: "I haven't heard any criticism of the scheme from people who actually live in the road."

The seven councillors who have written a joint letter to the county council are Sean Holden, Richard Hunt, Carol Leversha, Jan Pearson, Anthony Barrell, Mike Poulton and husband and wife Mark and Loraine Fullbrook.

They say the chicanes have already caused numerous accidents, traffic gridlock during the rush hours and road rage incidents.

Claiming that they have found almost no support for the scheme among local people, the councillors add: "The people on Elvetham Road itself are particularly worried because of the additional dangers they face in pulling out of their drives."

The councillors accept that some motorists used to speed along the road, but say it was not noted for accidents.

Now, they say, a head-on crash is bound to happen sooner or later because the scheme puts cars travelling in different directions on the same side of the road.

In their view speed cameras would have been a more sensible way of dealing with the problem.

Coun. Stocks said the traffic calming had been introduced following a county council survey which showed a "substantial proportion" of local people backed the idea.

The cost had been met by an Elvetham Heath developer who had agreed, in 1997, to donate £125,000 to help solve local traffic problems.

He claimed that those complaining about the chicanes were M3-bound drivers who sped along the road because they were late for work.

"I drive along that road every single day and I don't have any problems," said Coun. Stocks. "Perhaps it's because I always leave home in good time."