A long-awaited scheme to improve pedestrian safety in Hawley is likely to begin at the end of this month.
Blackwater and Hawley Town Council has campaigned for a new pathway to run through the village for the last 10 years and, subject to final discussions with contractors, phase one of the project is expected to commence in Fernhill Road during the last week of August.
Adrian Collett, chairman of Blackwater and Hawley Town Council, said: “This project has been on the books for a long time so we are pleased that it is ready to go.
“We wanted to get it started before the schools go back to reduce the impact on traffic. It will provide residents of Hawley Lodge a safe connection to the rest of the village.
“Sadly we have not got enough money for a footpath for the whole way down Fernhill Road, but being able to get half of the path built is a really important step.”
Stage one will cost around £75,000 and has been funded through contributions from developers who have projects in the area.
It is expected that it would cost a similar sum to finish the pathway, but funding has yet to be secured.
Yateley grandmother Gill Hennell, said of the pathway: “There has always been problems with crossing the road down there for a long time.
“It is very hard to park at the school. The main priority is to ensure children get to and from school safely.”
Grahame Keene, a Blackwater resident and town councillor, said: “It worries me having to take a chance when crossing, so I can imagine how concerned mothers with prams are when they have to step in to the road.
“We at the council have been anxious about the lack of a footpath for quite some time and I am looking forward to at least the first part being built.
“It shouldn’t be, but Fernhill Road is a fast road and you have to put your life in your hands when you want to cross it.”
Phase one of the scheme will provide a safe pedestrian route along much of Fernhill Road that currently is without pedestrian facilities.
It will provide secure and clean walking routes for users of the green spaces and leisure facilities for people who live within walking distance, including the sports pitches, Hawley Green and the Memorial Hall.
Parents and guardians will also be able to use the leisure centre parking facilities when collecting their children from Hawley Primary School, and be able to use those facilities in association with the school run.
The footpath will provide a safe pedestrian route into Hawley for residents of Hawley Grove and it is hoped it will encourage more people to walk rather than drive.
Cllr Collett added the pathway should have been created when Hawley Grove was built many years ago.
“It is a shame that the developer was not required to create a footpath along Fernhill Road during that time,” he said.
“We would not want to urbanise Fernhill Road, we just need to make it safe for people to use.”
Work will begin at the Hawley Grove end of the road with potential temporary traffic lights put in place.
Once completed, the footpath will pass Hawley Church and the adjacent crossroads, Hawley Green and the scout hut before emerging at Hawley Grove.