TRAVEL


The work below has now been carried out. This is shown for historic reference purposes only.

FLEET TOWN CENTRE
Traffic and Environmental Improvement Scheme
April 2002

This information is extracted from a newsletter from Hampshire County Council designed to keep residents, local businesses and visitors informed about the progress of the Fleet Town Centre Scheme. The report covers:
  • The results of the public consultations held in Fleet in November/December 2001
  • The changes being proposed in response to the consultations
  • The next stages in the scheme

Background to the Scheme

The aim of the scheme is to improve traffic movement and access around Fleet Town Centre, while making the high street and surrounding roads safer and more pedestrian-friendly. The overall objective is to improve the town centre's environment and enhance its role as Hart District's principal urban centre.

The decision to develop the scheme was taken in March 2001 by the North East Hampshire Transport Strategy Panel, and ratified by Hampshire County Council's Planning and Transportation Committee. Consultants WS Atkins, appointed by Hampshire County Council, then developed a set of proposals in liaison with Hart District Council.

These were shown at a public exhibition in Fleet in November/December 2001. Over 2,500 people visited the exhibition, and over 400 questionnaires were returned. In addition, briefings were given to local councillors; major retailers were interviewed; the emergency services and bus operators were consulted; and the scheme received front-page coverage in the local papers.

The Results of the Consultations

Feedback from people attending the exhibition, and the 
results of the questionnaire, indicated a broad level of support for the overall proposals. The alternative options (of an inner relief road, or a network of one-way streets) were supported by a small minority

Of the specific proposals for Fleet Town Centre, the seven most popular (out of 20 listed) were:

1) Providing off-road lorry unloading bays.

2) Reducing on-street parking on Fleet Road.

3) Improving pedestrian links to car parks.

4) Renewing the footway paving.

5) Connecting Victoria Road car park with Harlington Way.

6) Introducing a 20 mph speed limit on Fleet Road.

7) Improving the facilities for pedestrians at the Oatsheaf and Kings Road junctions.

Other Comments, Letters and Responses

Over 300 people gave comments in the questionnaires, and about 40 letters and e-mails were sent by individuals, traders and local organisations. In addition, a petition was submitted by a resident in favour of an inner relief road. The majority 
of comments were concerned with specific local issues such 
as speeding, parking and cycling. There were also comments about the strategic transport situation.

 Responses to the Consultations

1. Strategic Options

It is important to understand the wider transport situation in and around Fleet. Traffic in north-east Hampshire is steadily increasing, and an overall increase of 10-20% is forecast for the next ten years. This includes the impact of major developments such as Elvetham Heath and the QEII Barracks. However, traffic along Fleet Road has hardly increased during the past seven years, because the main junctions on the road network (e.g. Kings Road, Oatsheaf, Aldershot Road) are close to their capacity at peak periods.

For this reason, we predict that traffic flows along Fleet Road will not increase significantly during the coming years, but are likely to increase on other roads around the town centre, particularly Albert Street and Elvetham Road. This strengthens the case for managing the existing traffic better.

Previous traffic modelling of Fleet Town Centre for Hampshire County Council showed that a one-way system would not perform as well as the existing road network, as it would result in longer journey times and distances overall. On the other hand, construction of an inner relief road would not significantly increase the network's overall capacity, as the junctions at Kings Road-Fleet Road and Albert Street-Reading Road could not accommodate much further increases in traffic flow.

In strategic terms, the alternatives for Fleet are either to undertake a major expansion of the road network (which would be hugely expensive, environmentally damaging, and would allow traffic to rise to new levels of congestion), or else find new ways of coping with increasing travel demand.

The North East Hampshire Transport Strategy was adopted in 1999 specifically to achieve the latter, and its key objectives include:

  • To support the local economy.

  • To reduce the environmental impact of traffic.

  • To provide a range of high quality, safer and efficient transport choices.

  • To slow down the growth in car use by encouraging sustainable alternatives (especially walking, cycling and use of public transport).

  • To improve road safety.

The Fleet Town Centre proposals are based on this strategy. The proposed scheme will help to boost the town centre's vitality by smoothing traffic flow along Fleet Road and improving access and safety for all road users, especially pedestrians and cyclists. The strategy for north east Hampshire is included in the Local Transport Plan 2001 - 2006. 

2. Further Traffic Management Measures

In response to the consultations, we propose strengthening the traffic management component with the following measures:

  • To encourage the use of the new DERA link road (Kennels Lane-Norris Bridge), to divert some heavy lorries and through-traffic away from the town centre;
  • To introduce remote control of traffic signals at tour junctions in Fleet (Oats heat Alders hot Road/Reading Road South, Kings Road/Fleet Road, and Kings Road/ Albert Street), to increase junction capacity and reduce delays caused by the improvement of pedestrian facilities;
  • To introduce variable message signing for Fleet's three main car parks (Victoria Road, Church Road and Hart Centre), to allow more efficient use of the available parking capacity and reduce unnecessary travel around the town centre
  • To promote company plans in Fleet, to encourage sustainable travel to work and slow the growth in single-occupancy car travel, especially at peak times

3. Traffic Calming

Concerns about speeding on Connaught Road were raised in the consultations, so we propose to include this road in the traffic calming proposals. On Clarence Road we propose to reduce the number of traffic calming features, and give more emphasis to the junctions (where there is more risk of accidents). Residents in these roads and Albert Street will be consulted further on detailed aspects of these measures.

4. Disabled Parking on Fleet Road

Proposals to reduce on-street parking on Fleet Road were generally well-supported, except by some local traders. To address concerns about disabled access, we propose to reserve a significant proportion of the remaining parking spaces on Fleet Road for disabled parking, while increasing the number of short-stay spaces close by in Victoria Road and Church Road car parks.

 The Next Stages

The proposals for Fleet Town Centre were considered by the North East Hampshire Transport Strategy Panel at a meeting on 13th February 2002. The Panel reaffirmed its support for the preferred option of traffic and environmental improvements, and recommended further discussions with local businesses and local representatives on the scheme's details. The Panel also recommended formally abandoning the inner relief road, and holding a special meeting on the scheme in June 2002.

 Further Information

If you would like to find out more about the detailed proposals for Fleet Town Centre and the results of the public consultations, copies of these two reports are available for public inspection at:

(1) The Harlington Centre Library.

(2) Hart District Council reception.

An exhibition of the proposals for Fleet Town Centre will also be on display at Hart District Council reception between Tuesday 7th May and Monday 27th May 2002.

If you have any general enquiries about the scheme, please contact:

Emily Coombes, W S Atkins, 01962 858600

For press enquiries, please contact: Sarette Martin, Hampshire County Council, 01962 847666