The planning experts

Keeping Rural Roads Rural

Increasing vehicular traffic on our roads is increasing pollution and congestion and destroying the tranquillity of some of our best loved rural areas. We are also working hard to reduce the clutter of road-signs that spoil the rural character of some of our finest villages - see clutter campaign.

Battlemap Hotspots

  • The Lyndhurst By-Pass - While by-passes, especially in national parks, can take away valuable countryside, they may be unavoidable to deal with the downsides of intesive visitor traffic. Don Stewart discusses the dilemma facing Lyndhurst. (May 2007).

The Issues

The main issues that concern us are:

  • Dependence on the car in rural areas, where there is inadeqaute public transport
  • Congestion in towns and villages, that also increases pollution levels
  • Loss of tranquillity in the countryside, because of the noise generated by traffic
  • New roads in the countryside attract development pressure for housing and industrial estates, including large distribution warehouses
  • Country lanes where fast vehicle traffic make it unnecessarily dangerous for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.

Our Position

We recognise that higher than average use of cars in rural areas is currently essential. However, there are things we can - and should - do to reduce travel use and mitigate the undesirable effects:

  • Major developments should be planned in an integrated way and incorporate homes, businesses, shops and schools all together
  • Provide better public transport, especially for town-to-town travel, incorporating bike, bus and train interchange
  • Design road schemes with all users in mind
  • Reduce signage on rural roads and improve their design in villages.

What We Are Doing

Among our recent and current activities are:

  • Our anti-clutter campaign, which has reduced the size of road sign on the A32 near East Meon - read more...
  • Supported Hampshire County Council's Environment Department in its efforts to improve the tranquillity of our rural roads
  • Actively following proposals for the Bordon-Whitehill 'eco-town', to make sure the new development integrates transport needs with the character of the surrounding countryside and villages - see Whitehill, Bordon - An Eco-town?
  • Have run several successful transport symposiums that bring together all interested parties in improving our transport infrastructure.
  • In 2004 we conducted a survey amongst parish and town councils about rural roads - read more...

Case Studies

  • In addition to reducing clutter on the A32, a pilot project in West Meon introduced 'shared space' changing the road surface so that drivers are made more aware of other users, especially pedestrians - read the details in Clearing The Clutter
  • Buriton - here the villagers, on their own initiative, worked with Hampshire County Council to introduce their own scheme - and raised their own funds to implement it.

This page last updated 4th February 2011.