CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans for 100 homes in the green belt are investigating whether their quiet neighbourhood could be protected with special status.
Residents in Pennington are looking at gaining Quiet Lanes designation in response to New Forest District Council proposing to allocate land for major housing development between Ridgeway Lane and Lower Pennington Lane.
The status, available under government regulations, cannot bar vehicles from using the route but would instead prioritise local policy to protect the peaceful character of the area.
If approved by highway authority Hampshire County Council, it could bring in speed limits, extra signage and become at least a consideration when deciding local development. Guidelines suggest trying to limit traffic to 1,000 movements a day.
The initiative is being led by the Pennington and Lymington Lanes Society (PALLS) which last year organised a protest march against the housing proposals in NFDC’s draft Local Plan. It sets out development policies until 2036 for about 10,500 new homes.
The idea was raised at the first AGM of PALLS, which has grown to about 700 members concerned that extra traffic from the proposed new homes next to Oakhaven Hospice would be a danger on their narrow, rural roads used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
As reported in the A&T, an NFDC truck recently got stuck in a ditch trying to avoid an oncoming vehicle.
PALLS have launched their own Quiet Lanes consultation and are appealing to residents to give their feedback online.
PALLS member George Trevelyan said: “I really value the distinctive character of the Lanes and believe that their use could be better protected for everyone if we just undertook some simple steps to alert all users of the Lanes to respect other users.
“I would urge you to fill in the survey, which asks your view of the appropriate action to take, so that in the event that others feel the same we can approach councillors for their support and get the lanes designated as Quiet Lanes.”
Quiet Lanes are meant to resist rising traffic by taking an overview of networks of minor rural roads for shared use by walkers, cyclists, horse riders and other vehicles.
Actions can include community involvement to change the public’s behaviour, entry and exit signs to remind motorists to modify their driving, and traffic-calming measures in keeping with the local environment.
They can even include modifying planning policy, which would be up to New Forest District Council, to control development that might clash with the Quiet Lanes designation.
An HCC spokesperson said: “Applications for Quiet Lanes designation would need to be made to Hampshire County Council, as the highway authority.
“Government guidance states that any roads being considered for Quiet Lane status should have low traffic volumes, travelling at low speed before designation.”
To respond to the PALLS survey go to www.pennandlymlanes.com before the deadline on 7th May.