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Tank traps -from The Kremlin

By Alan Franklin

Driving down Elvetham Road, Fleet, the other evening, I could hardly believe my eyes.

Massive barriers jutted out halfway across the road, in a series of fortifications that would have put World War Two tank traps to shame.

Yes, folks, Hampshire County Council has been taking one of its "initiatives" again. We always seem to have trouble every time one of their time-servers dusts off his map and finds his way out of his haunt in The Kremlin, Winchester, into distant north east Hants.

He usually brings with him a ridiculous notion to cause maximum traffic jams by blocking off already inadequate roads.

Having talked to various informants on Friday, I have pieced together a disturbing picture of Hampshire doing what it wants - basically justifying its worthless but costly existence - by sending its engineers out to drag motoring back to the age of one man in a car preceeded by one man walking with a red flag.

I am told that these schemes are going ahead despite Hart Council urging caution while public consultation took place.

Reducing traffic flow in Elvetham Road to a crawl, at a time when the volume is greatly increasing because of all the new homes just up the road in Elvetham Heath, is total, utter madness. I am surprised that our two local county councillors, Peter Hutcheson and John Stocks, have not stopped this nonsense. Fleet's Coun. Stocks says local people want it. Oh for some pro-motoring council candidates!

Worse is to come, of course, with the other hair-brained idea of impeding already slow traffic flow through Fleet town centre, with road narrowing, build-outs and removing many car parking spaces.

Attention, electors. Every councillor in Hart is up for re-election this spring.

Don't just ignore this election or cast your vote like a robot. Talk to the candidates, see what they stand for. In particular, see if they agree with bringing the town to a standstill.

This isn't Mugabeland and voters can still change things. If we don't like what is going on, we can still kick the blighters out. That's if enough readers take action.

It's going to get worse in Fleet, part three. Brace yourselves for this one, fellow motorists.

Shortly, the railway bridge in Fleet is going to have traffic light controls on it - for 28 weeks.

The reason is that a new roundabout is being built in front of what they call the Waterfront Business Park, where the PO sorting office is. Expect even more chaos than usual.

This should eventually lead to a safer road system, but much else will not. I will soon remind councillors of our suggestions in the Star four years ago, when Pat and I toured local traffic blackspots and came up with simple solutions. One of these has actually been implemented - the new circulatory system at Iveley Road. Watch this space.

Some people - mostly those who work in town halls and spend their spare time throwing darts at pictures of me (oh yes, I know!) - think local government is somehow beneficial to society.

Well, it is hugely beneficial to those on the bandwagon, with their heavily subsidised pensions and perks, paid for by us.

Ask them to make a decision and, er, em, they form a committee.

Here's a little insight into how their minds work, courtesy of our sharp-eyed son, Daniel. Burgess Hill Council is trying to decide how to stop sunlight falling on computer screens next to a window.

It has had three meetings, six months of discussion, contacted several potential contractors and produced a six page report.

The favourite of five possible solutions is to move the desk at its tourism office.

The property committee is thinking this over before making its recommendation to full council. Solutions have been costed at £300 to £7000 and include fitting computer-controlled screens to the outside of the window, treating the glass with solar reflective film or putting up blinds.

The town clerk says the best solution would be to move the desk away from the window.

I rest my case.


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