RESIDENTS in Andover are ‘up in arms’ over controversial proposals to change vehicle access into Vigo Road.

A consultation on proposals put forward by Hampshire County Council began last week.

It is seeking public opinion on the proposal to ‘improve crossing opportunities at the eastern end of Vigo Road, widening the footway and the introduction of a ‘no right turn’ from London Road into Vigo Road’.

The introduction of the latter has proved to be the most contentious.

Borough councillors Iris Andersen and John Cockaday have raised concerns over vehicle access including emergency services, binmen, taxis, buses and school run traffic.

They argue it would mean drivers using Batchelors Barn Road to access Vigo Road instead.

They say Batchelors Barn Road is already congested with traffic during the school run and increased traffic would exacerbate not alleviate concerns. Four schools are located on Vigo Road, London Road and Batchelors Barn Road – Vigo Infant and Junior Schools, Winton Community Academy, The Mark Way School and Norman Gate School.

Cllr Andersen said: “My main concern is the safety of the children and I’ve two grandchildren that go to a school here but it’s a rat run.

“Batchelors Barn Road is already a nightmare and you have to think of how many schools are in Vigo Road.

“What I can’t understand is surely there’s got to be a better method.”

Wendy Colwell, who lives in Picket Twenty and whose son goes to Vigo, said: “It seems senseless to me.

“I can’t see how it’s going to make anything safer; if anything having a no turn right into Vigo Road will cause more congestion.

“If anything else it should be no right turn out of Vigo Road, not into Vigo Road.

“I think it’s a ridiculous idea.

“I can’t see what difference it will make to children’s safety.

“It’s going to cause a hell of a lot of problems.”

Anne O’Neill, 77, who lives on Vigo Road, said of the ‘no right turn’ idea: “That’s going to be very difficult for old people who shop at Tesco.

“I don’t think the elderly would appreciate that at all. It’s going to inconvenience a lot of people.”

Another concern has been raised over the potential impact on businesses located towards the eastern end of Vigo Road.

Chris Jackson, a private hire driver from Let Me Drive You, said: “Having lived in Andover all my life I think the plan to close off access from London Road into Vigo Road would be a bad idea.

“It would affect overuse of Batchelors Barn Road, cause problems getting into Bilbao Court and also businesses such as the Buddha restaurant would be affected, as many people would not bother to drive another long way round.

“I would suggest either traffic lights just after the Bilbao Court flats or traffic calming measures to slow traffic down.

“Cost has been mentioned in the proposals. However long term cost and damage to the roads caused by wear and tear would result in damage to roads through excessive traffic on other roads due to the closure.”

HCC’s executive member for environment and transport, Councillor Rob Humby said: “The county council is proposing to undertake a number of minor infrastructure works, to improve crossing opportunities at the eastern end of Vigo Road, widening the footway and the introduction of a ‘No Right Turn’ from London Road into Vigo Road.

“The proposals are principally to assist children accessing the schools south of Vigo Road, to provide off-road cycle facilities and reduce through traffic.

“I would encourage anyone who has a view about this scheme to take part in our public consultation and let us know what they think.

“This can be done by filling in a short online questionnaire at: before 30 November.

“We can then make sure that all the comments and suggestions we receive are considered before the details are finalised.”

This is not the first time the road has prompted traffic safety concerns.

In June last year, the Advertiser reported worried parents and councillors launching a campaign to clamp down on parking and speeding problems on Vigo Road, with traffic humps, flashing signs and a speed limit cut being discussed.

Incidents that prompted the campaign included one in which a motorist drove straight at the crossing attendant in the middle of the road and a girl was brushed by a bonnet when a car nearly ploughed into her.

What do you think of the proposals – do you think they will improve Vigo Road? Email