DESPITE public uproar and opposition from Hart Council, Hampshire is to retain most of its controversial "traffic calming" measures in Elvetham Road, Fleet - and has threatened that it may later add even more obstacles!
The bombshell came via Fleet county councillor John Stocks just after the Hart Highways Management Advisory Panel had called on Friday for all the measures to be removed. This had been carried by four votes to two with two abstentions.
But Coun. Stocks, who chaired the meeting, then revealed that on Thursday evening he had been e-mailed by Coun. Keith Estlin from Hampshire to say that the measures would be altered in line with recommendations from consultants.
Coun. Sean Holden, who had moved the removal motion, described the consultants' report as "fairly fatuous". He added: "Some people may think of them as dictators in the way they ignore what people want.
"The county's attitude is abysmal. It is just to scoff at the views of the people of Fleet and to say that their bureaucratic and professional opinions are better."
Coun. Holden said the campaign for the chicanes removal would continue as it was now the official position of Hart, the highways panel and "everyone who lives in Fleet."
Roads campaigner Coun. Denis Gotel said that Coun. Stocks had argued that it was a Hampshire County Council scheme and they could do as they wished.
Coun. Gotel said that following the report one chicane would be removed and one moved while over-runnable islands would be put in place at the start of each anti-skid patch.
"The scheme would be further reviewed in the course of time and the possibility of including further build-outs considered as necessary," Coun. Gotel reported.
Coun. Stephen Parker, who fought for the removal of the chicanes, told the Star: "The whole shooting match has lost credibility with the general public. If you have measures without public support, they will not be respected by the public."
He also criticised the county for calling a meeting of the panel to discuss the consultants' report only to make a decision about it beforehand. "It served to negate the purpose of having that panel meeting at all," he said.
Coun. Stocks was not available for comment on Tuesday. He had rebuffed attempts by Coun. Gotel to show photographs and a film demonstrating the hazardous nature of the scheme on the grounds that the consultants were not there to defend themselves. He also told Coun. Gotel that he was out of order as he was only a reserve member of the panel.