During the meeting on 4 March 2019, the full council approved the following letter to the Director of Children’s Service at HCC:-
Odiham Parish Council (OPC) have had representatives attend several meetings with Officers from Hampshire County Council and Hook Parish Council to review the proposed plans to create a safe walking route from Hook to Robert May’s School in Odiham.
At a recent public meeting in Hook, it was implied by HCC that OPC were supportive of these plans. OPC would like to make it clear that at no point has this Council formally been asked to provide feedback or endorse the plans.
Given our concern that OPC were positioned as supportive of these plans, we would like to make it clear that, from the information shared with OPC, our Councillors and Executive Officer who attended your meetings raised concerns about your proposal, specifically with regard to the crossing of the A287 at the Derby/Lodge roundabout within our parish.
It is not apparent to OPC how HCC Highways can make this a safe crossing for the potential numbers of children that will need to use it, particularly in the morning. We have also strong doubt with regard to the strength of the traffic gap analysis undertaken by HCC at this busy junction.
While our resident’s children will not have to endure this route and it’s obvious risks, OPC Councillors have been vocal that they would not let their children undertake such a route if the situation were reversed. Our clear impression is that HCC are looking at the “safety” of this route purely from a Highway safety aspect with no consideration for any other aspects of children’s safety/behaviour.
Although the primary area of concern of our members is the safety of the children, Councillors have also raised issue with regards to the impact this route will have on traffic congestion around Odiham. The impact of hundreds of children crossing a busy A road, as well as added traffic from the parents not wishing their children to walk such an obviously unsafe route, will undoubtedly create significant traffic issues for our residents and people who work in and around our village.
While it would be correct to say that both OPC and Hook Parish Council have explored an amenity route between Hook and Odiham for many years, this should not in any way be seen as an endorsement of your plans, which we believe as a designated route to school would be to the detriment of children’s safety and add congestion to our roads.