PLANS to use Winchester villages as rat-runs during a summer festival have emerged which locals have described “desperately unsafe”.
BoomTown festival organisers have put forward plans which could see 75 coaches and up to 750 campervans directed from the M3 through Twyford and onward to the site at Matterley Bowl.
The plan is to direct them through the village centre on Hazeley Road, through Morestead and into Owslebury via Longwood Road to reach the A272.
At a residents meeting held on Thursday (April 18) festival officials met with parish councillors, residents, police and city councillors to discuss the options.
Tom Ferris, of CTM Traffic Management, said: “Can I first apologise to those people who did not know we are going to be using routes through Twyford and Morestead.
“I appreciate the concerns you have had with traffic coming thorough your village; more than you have had previously. But it’s about spreading the traffic. I know this isn’t great for you but, if we can push coach movement in the long term by generating new routes in, we can reduce the number of cars but still extend the number of people.”
Festival officials hope to increase the number from 30,000 to 38,000 for 2014 with a further increase to 45,000 next year and 49,999 in 2016.
But BoomTown was heavily criticised for not relaying the information sooner.
Hampshire County Councillor Rob Humby, said: “It’s not how you intend to manage it. It’s about the consultation with residents and businesses and that has been unfortunate.
“We need to make sure these lines of communication are let out very clearly. We live there and we know [the area].”
City council officers of the environment division and Hampshire police said assessing new routes was vital to ease congestion on the A31.
Sergeant Jason Holford, who works in strategic operations for Hampshire Constabulary, said: “In the last two or three years we have talked about the pressure on junction 9 and it’s always been a problem. What we have got to be able to do is utilise everything at our disposal.”
But parish councillors and residents said the proposals would not be safe and raised concerns of the logistics of turning such large and numerous vehicles.
Daryl Henry, parish councillor for Twyford said: “The biggest issue I have is the actual entrance of the junction. You’re talking about putting 75 coaches and 750 campervans through that area which is desperately unsafe.”
The traffic management plan has been submitted to the authorities and will be decided one month before the festival begins.