Report on Consultation (September/October 2021)
This report presents the results of the parish council’s New Footways Project public consultation that ran from 1 September to 25 October 2021.
The consultation was on a conceptual design for new footways running along the village main road (Medstead Road and Kings Hill), consisting of:
- New on-road footways in the village centre and on the lower part of Kings Hill; and
- New off-road footways alongside Medstead Road as it runs past woodlands on the south side.
This conceptual scheme had passed an HCC initial safety audit in summer 2021. The consultation also sought views on the existing short stretches of roadside footpath, and on the desirability of a 20mph speed limit and speed limit enforcement.
On the basis of the consultation results, the Parish Council has agreed that the project should proceed to the next stage, which will be the development of the detailed design of the scheme, taking into account the consultation comments received (as set out in the report).
Summary of consultation results
A total of 110 consultation responses were received from 87 households, representing 38% of the households in Beech Parish.
The summary conclusions that can be drawn from the responses are as follows.
- There was strong support (86%) for the project as a whole.
- There was strong support (85%) for the proposed on-road footways in the Village Centre and on Kings Hill, so long as they can be designed to be a safe option in conjunction with HCC.
- There was strong support (90%) for the proposed off-road footways next to Forestry England land on Medstead Road. However, strong reservations were expressed by a majority of residents of properties opposite the western section, and it is proposed to investigate their concerns further.
- There was majority support (55%) for upgrading, in a manner sensitive to the natural woodland setting, the surface of the roadside footpath in the private woodland on upper Medstead Road.
- There were suggestions for the upgrading, as part of the project, of the existing path to the A339. Meanwhile the parish council should consider a more frequent maintenance programme for this path.
- There was strong support (80%) for a 20mph speed limit in the village centre and Wellhouse Road, should it become possible.
- There was strong support (79%) for the use of unmanned Community SpeedWatch cameras, if they become available and supported by the police.
- We might consider using ’20 is plenty’ signs in Wellhouse Road (and possibly in the village centre) as a temporary or permanent measure.
- There was strong support (79%) for extending the project to a new off-road footway on upper Kings Hill to Alton Abbey.