Money requested to improve pedestrian facilities on 'dangerous' road crossed by schoolchildren
Funding to improve pedestrian safety in Fernhill Road has been approved by councillors.
Blackwater and Hawley Town Council asked Hart District Council for around £75,000 to make the popular route between Hawley and Farnborough safer for pedestrians.
The request was approved by Hart District Council's cabinet members on Thursday evening (September 5).
For years the town council has called for better pedestrian facilities but funding has held them back.
The envisaged project includes a path plus potential dropped kerbs and different coloured road surfaces to alert drivers to where pedestrians would be crossing the road.
The town council has requested money from the district council’s fund of contributions from developers. It aims to give pedestrians, especially school children and mothers with pushchairs, a secure place to walk and cross.
Councillor Adrian Collett, a member of Hampshire County Council and chairman of the town council, said: “It is a dangerous old road and a lot of people walk up and down it and that is without a path.
“If there was a path I am sure more people would walk along it.
“There are two objectives with this project. We want to make Fernhill Road safer for pedestrians but we also want to give them safer access to the area’s leisure facilities such as Hawley Green, sports pitches and the leisure centre.
“We hope this would encourage people to use these facilities as well.”
Detailed plans will now be drawn up following the approval.
The scheme provides a number of benefits to pedestrians, including secure path into Hawley for residents of Hawley Grove. Parents will also be able to use the leisure centre parking facilities when collecting their children from Hawley Primary School and potentially use those facilities in association with trips.
It is also hoped the scheme will encourage more people to walk in Hawley rather than use their cars.
Hawley Place School takes part in a county-wide scheme, Walk to School Week and designates six students each year as junior road safety officers to teach peers about road safety.
Headteacher Veronica Galpin said: “We are thrilled to hear about these plans and we hope that they will further support our school travel plan encouraging families to walk rather than drive to school.”
Hart’s funding would come from a combination of around £45,000 dedicated to open space and leisure funds and around £30,000 dedicated to highway improvements.
Earlier this year, ‘slow down’ road signs were put up at the entrance of Hawley to encourage drivers to reduce their speed and to stick to a 30mph limit when passing through the village following road safety fears.
Daryl Phillips, head of planning services at Hart District Council, said: “The project is a long-standing objective of Blackwater and Hawley Town Council.
“The town council does not, however, have the expertise to design such projects, and as part of this will be on the highway, Hampshire Highways have agreed to do the design and implementation works.
“A consultant is currently putting together a design.”