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Dismay as army bans parking at popular walking spot

Earth banks will be put in place to stop parking at popular walking spot on army land

Parking has been outlawed on military land at Woodside in Blackwater

Parking restrictions have been enforced at a popular dog walking spot to prevent cars from becoming a ‘hazard’ to cadets trying to access the site.

Members of the public can no longer park their cars along Woodside in Blackwater if they want to walk on the military training grounds.

Despite the public parking on the site for many years, the army has now contracted Landmarc to construct earthen banks along the road to prevent parking.

Nick Phillips has walked his dogs on the military grounds for the past six years and said he was shocked to find out that he could no longer park alongside it.

Mr Phillips from Frogmore, said: “I particularly like walking the dogs in this area because it is such a distance away from any roads.

“It tends to be an area that we can get out of the car and just walk for miles without any worry.

“There have never been any issues with soldiers, they fuss the dogs. I returned from a holiday to find that the banks had been erected.

“There had been no indication that there was any issue with people parking along Woodside.

“I was shocked when the workmen told me that they would be extending the banks all the way down the road to stop people parking and so that they could try and stop people using the army land.”

According to the Aldershot and District Military Lands Bylaws 1976, members of the public are permitted to use all parts of the military land including military roads unless fenced or restricted, for the purposes ‘of open-air recreation at all times when the military lands are not being used for military purposes for which they are appropriated’.

Mr Phillips added: “It would also seem rather ironic that whilst there is an attempt to get people to lead active healthy lifestyles the army should be helping to prevent people getting out into the fresh air.

“For one gentleman I regularly spoke to, being in his 80s and a widower, his afternoon walk was the highlight of his day and his main social interaction. I have not seen him since the construction of the barriers.”

Residents in Woodside were given no notice that the banks would be constructed and Mr Phillips felt that communication between the army and the public had been poor.

A spokesman for the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, said: “There have been instances of some drivers parking on verges and using military access points as car parks in order to use the training area.

“While we have no wish to restrict legitimate, safe and non-disruptive public access, cars parked in these areas can present a traffic hazard and block military vehicles from accessing the training area.

“This action has been taken to manage public access points to the training area.”

 

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