Plans to link two communities by a footpath have taken a step forward after a compromise was reached between them.

Following the construction of Augusta Park, plans had been afoot for some time to link up Smannell with the new estate. However, objections from parish and county councils had been a roadblock on the scheme, with a footpath along Smannell Road abandoned.

Following this, an agreement between the borough and county council, with the support of the parish councils, will see woodland footpaths improved as an off-road link between the villages.

The leader of Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), Councillor Phil North, said the plans “will enable a safer connection between the two communities.”

The origins of the link lie in 2014, with the plans having taken a number of steps forward and backwards since then. The first mention was at a Hampshire County Council (HCC) presentation to Smannell and Augusta Park residents over installing a footpath between the two areas. According to Cllr North, Smannell Parish Council were concerned over urbanisation of the village after this meeting, while Augusta Park residents were in favour.

Following modifications, both sides were agreed, but HCC deemed them ‘unacceptable’. Further modifications to the scheme were unpopular with Smannell residents, and HCC refused further suggestions suggested by TVBC.

On Sunday, however, Cllr North announced that there had been a breakthrough in plans to link the two communities. Scalpings, which are a mixture of clay and stones produced as a by-product of quarrying, will be used to reinforce the route between East Anton Sports Ground and Diamond Woods and Woodhouse, while accessible gateways and signage will be installed.

The project is a co-operation between HCC and TVBC, with the support of key stakeholders in the area, and work on the plans is due to get underway next month.

Cllr North said that he hopes it will enable residents of both communities to use each others’ facilities, whether that’s The Oak in Smannell or playgrounds in Augusta Park.

The news comes as elsewhere in Andover, more new houses will also get better links to the surrounding area.

In this case, residents in Picket Picket will see steps and a ramp installed to provide a better link between Ox Drove and the Picket Piece Sports Ground.

The plans were approved by TVBC on May 10, and will be constructed in due course.