At peak hours, 75 per cent of Chawton Park Farm journeys are predicted to be by car.
There wouldn’t be sufficient demand to sustain a bus service at a build out rate of ten houses per month.
Even without the Chawton Park Farm development there are considerable problems anyway.
As we all know, Northfield Lane and Chawton Park Road are the only available roads that will serve the proposed Chawton Park Farm development.
Already some residents from the current Treloars Estate are using the Northfield Lane exit instead of the Chawton Park Road/Whitedown Lane junction.
One said to me: “I use it every weekday morning at 8am to take the kids to school. It’s easier to drive the extra mile around than to try to turn right out of Chawton Park Road on to Whitedown.
“It wasn’t too bad in lockdown/last year but is worse again now. Basically you have to rely on a combination of pedestrians using the crossing and the good will of someone letting you out.”
This is happening NOW, well before completion of the Crest Nicholson 280 home development on Chawton Park Road.
The Say NO to Chawton Park Farm campaign experts reviewed the 2015 Alton Transport Strategy (ATS) peak hour traffic data predictions for the Chawton Park Road/Whitedown Lane junction.
This predicted that even before Chawton Park Farm is built and after the completed 280 home Crest Nicholson development, there will be queues of around 34 vehicles at morning peak hour emerging from Chawton Park Road.
The prediction was that the junction would be operating at 96 per cent capacity – well above its practical limit!
In 2015, there were on average 825 vehicles per morning and evening peak hour. Based on the principles underpinning the data from the ATS our experts have predicted how many vehicles would exit and enter the Chawton Park Farm development at those same times and how the extra vehicles would affect the Cawton Park Road/Whitedown Lane junction.
This is the result:
? The Chawton Park Farm development would add an extra 671 and 740 vehicles respectively at morning and evening peak hours which represents an increase of 81 per cent in the morning and 90 per cent in the evening! This is between 11 and 12 extra per minute!
? The effect on the junction would be to increase the traffic by nearly half in the morning and a third in the evening so the rest of the increase would impact the Northfield Lane/A31 junction.
What are our local authorities doing about this?
Shockingly the Say NO to Chawton Park Farm Campaign has learnt that this junction cannot be improved to provide sufficient capacity.
The ATS found that even if a satisfactory layout for traffic signals could be found, its introduction would make little difference to the operation of the junction.
Hampshire County Council said in a letter dated January 27, 2015, that “the operation of the proposed junction [signalization] … is of concern”.
This comment was made before Chawton Park Farm was mooted and so it doesn’t even take the 1,200-home development into account!
The letter also says the modelling showed “Chawton Park Road is shown to be operating over theoretical capacity during (2020)”.
This relates to after the new 280 housing development is built!
So the county council recognizes the ATS prediction we have highlighted above: Chawton Park Road will be operating at ‘over … capacity’ even once the 280 Crest Nicholson homes are built and before Chawton Park Farm!
Currently Hampshire is “monitoring” the situation – they decided in 2015 that introducing traffic signals would be premature, and that “monitoring…” should be undertaken.
But maybe recognition of the potential problems with the Whitedown Lane/Chawton Park Road is now dawning.
In fact, this week we have spotted measuring equipment stretched across Chawton Park Road and a two way camera installed at the junction with Whitedown Lane.
What alternatives would the Chawton Park Farm residents and the residents and users of the many facilities along Chawton Park Road have?
Well the alternative access would obviously be Northfield Lane, and of course here we have another obstacle to free-flowing traffic: the narrow bridge and obscured sight of oncoming vehicles when driving south because of the hump in the road surface underneath.
Introduce even higher volumes of traffic than those recorded in 2015 (average 128 vehicles/hour in morning peak, and 229 per hour in evening peak), and The Say NO to Chawton Park Farm campaign cannot see how anything can be done to avoid dangerous queues stretching back onto the A31 and round the tight right-angled bend on Chawton Park Road.
If traffic signals with one-way shuttles were installed these queues would be made worse.
Hampshire has conceded that to maintain safe Stopping Sight Distances (SSD) there would need to be a reduction in the speed limit.
This wouldn’t necessarily make the road safe depending on the volumes of traffic, and SSDs need to be longer in wet, icy and foggy weather.
The Say NO campaign can only see these dangerous queues forming and Chawton Park Road/Northfield Lane becoming a quagmire of cars and residents’ lives being made hell.
Our view is that not only is this proposal unsustainable from a transport point of view: it is hugely dependent on car use and there is simply no realistic solution to the problems of access, congestion and traffic flow.
It is an inescapable fact that Chawton Park Farm would result in further Chawton Park Road traffic chaos.
The sooner this scheme is removed from serious consideration, the better.