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Linwood to Lyndhurst Road

HCC’s Disappointing Response to Hit & Run Accidents

Presentment to Verderers Court 18th May 2016, by Richard Deacon (shared here with his kind permission) — we previously shared his February 10th 2016 Presentment Problems with excessive Traffic and Hit & Run accidents in 2015. For more context see the end of this note.

On behalf of the CDA, my first task is to express our satisfaction and thank those involved for the newly erected signage on the B3078, Roger Penny Way, the Brook to Telegraph Rd. Some two years ago we raised our concerns at proposed signage changes and that the issue should be taken to a higher Authority. Hampshire County Cllr, Mr Edward Heron, and also now on the Verderers bench, duly chaired several meetings and has been instrumental in the most recent installation. The new arrangements catch the eye and hopefully refresh drivers awareness of the risks to our livestock and ponies.

Flushed with this success, I now move to my second task, which is to achieve the same goal on the single lane, but heavily trafficked, Linwood to Lyndhurst road, most particularly in the village of Linwood itself. My family have pursued this goal over more than the last 50 years. My late father successfully campaigned in the 1960s for the erection of two directional chevrons at Amies Corner and the S- bend at Newlands. We were forever helping to pull cars out of the bog on the far side of the latter. Those coming to grief at Amies Corner, more often needed an ambulance than a tractor.

Sadly, in the last two months, at Amies Corner, an unfortunate driver has totaled his Nissan Micra into the tree just 3m from the chevron and the ensuing fire has destroyed both car and tree. Several weeks earlier another driver, failed to negotiate the bend, missed the first tree, careered around the bank on the far side, bounced back-across the road and hit the ancient oak on the other side.

In February, I came to the court, to report 3 Hit & Run accidents involving commoners animals on this road. The number of accidents, within the confines of the village of Linwood, has now risen to 5 in just the one year. The carnage comprises;

  • a gelding and a foal each with a broken leg – both destroyed;
  • a cow, hospitalised for weeks with injuries;
  • two vehicles, written off, one a mini-bus taxi, transporting school children;
  • a Mercedes saloon with severe frontal damage.

We trust that the Verderers agree, that on a 15 km stretch of rural road, 5 accidents in one year, all occurring within the 1300m frontage that is Linwood, adequately demonstrates that Linwood has a significant traffic safety problem.

After my earlier presentment this year, HCC have responded to the Official Verderers supporting request, with a desktop study and find that Linwood ‘does not meet the criteria for a 30mph speed limit’. HCC allude to the many factors to be taken into account in setting speed limits, and I quote;- ‘road character, roadside development, accident history, road safety issues, current traffic speeds, junction frequency, private entrances and the presence of amenities that attract both motorised and non-motorised road users’.

We would point out that in almost 10 years, no formal assessment of traffic speed or frequency has been conducted along this road despite 2 years of the Verderers current speed enforcement initiative. In 10 years, rat run activity and congestion on the A31 has seen traffic levels soar on the Linwood Rd. Excessive speed and erratic driving behaviour are increasingly prevalent.

Linwood now has 47 homes, 2 public houses, 2 busy FC carparks (Appleslade and Broomy Walk). 11 properties open directly onto the Linwood Rd and a further 4 dwellings are served by short gravel tracks. The remainder of Linwood residents gain access via the junctions at the two ends of Toms Lane.

For 8 months of the year, the village populace is supplemented by the Red Shoot Camping Park with 110 pitches and Deers Leap Caravan Park with 34 units, each directly served by an unpaved vehicular access. In 2015, the camping park alone hosted 8687 child nights, i.e. an average of 35 children per night. These children, either with or without adult supervision, mostly access the Forest via the Toms Lane/Linwood Rd. junction where visibility is poor for drivers.

The Red Shoot Inn, meets the needs of both its own patrons and the camping park with many young children playing on the green areas immediately adjacent to the unfenced Linwood Road. At 40mph, this is a fatal accident waiting to happen.

As to amenity, the immediate area and the carparks are heavily frequented by unfamiliar holiday dogwalkers, particularly in the early morning and at dusk. Two of the National Park designated cycle tracks use all of the 1300m of the Linwood Road. Family cycle activity, training runs, and organised cycle events use the same section of road.

We do not consider that HCC’s desktop study has really paid any attention to these contributing factors and we request HCC to carry out a genuine appraisal of our traffic problems, so as to secure a safe passage of traffic. To this end, I would be happy to provide a safe housing and power supply for a sustained SID survey in the vicinity of Linwood’s roadside telephone box. This survey will provide accurate current data of traffic speed and frequency for a definitive assessment

Drivers need to be advised that they are entering a village community with an exceptional range of hazards. No such signage is provided at present.

Having read the minutes of the Verderers post-Court meeting of February, I must express my dismay at the Court’s dismissal of any form of definition of the Linwood village boundaries. I am at a loss to find any other village within the Forest, with such a substantial make-up of homes and businesses and Forest visitor carparks, as listed above, that is not permitted to display its village name. Many much smaller villages within the Forest are clearly signposted, often with accompanying request to ‘drive with care’ and the benefit of a 30mph speed restriction. We can depend upon it, that if all 47 homes and 2 pubs should decline to pay their NFDC rates, the village of Linwood would not remain a non-entity for very long!

Further, after 8 years of my trying to restore suitable signage on the Linwood Road, warning of the likely presence of commoners’ ‘Animals on the Road, Day and Night’, it beggars belief, that an unfamiliar motorist can still leave the A31 at Ringwood and traverse the entire New Forest from Rockford to Ashurst, via Lyndhurst, without ever seeing this or any other information sign warning of the presence and risk to depastured livestock.

8 of the 47 homes in Linwood house families that actively depasture animals, 5 are young commoners. We must again ask the Verderers to seek remedy of this signage deficiency.

To Sum up, this presentment is a wake up call for a proper traffic risk assessment for the village of Linwood.

Richard Deacon, Linwood resident and a practising commoner, retired civil engineer with considerable experience of highway and environmental engineering. Shared with permission to this NFA page. This follows up his February 10th 2016 Presentment Problems with excessive Traffic and Hit & Run accidents in 2015.

The Official Verderer, Dominic May, took up these issues with Hampshire County Council and made the following Announcements at the March and April 2016 Verderers Courts:

16th March 2016

2016/8524 ROAD THROUGH LINWOOD

‘Thank you to Richard Deacon for making his presentment about speeding though Linwood. The Verderers support you in your desire to slow down the traffic, and also your wish to remove much of the traffic by discouraging the use of this road as a rat run to avoid the A31. I therefore wrote in mid-February to Hampshire County Council to request that the speed limit through Linwood Village be reduced from 40mph to 30mph as it is in most other New Forest Villages.

In my letter, I have also chased up for Hampshire County Council’s long-awaited proposal to make the road across Broomy Plain a single track with passing places. If a single track road with passing places were implemented here, traffic would be slowed by the inconvenience, and use as an A31 bypass would diminish considerably.

And I have requested that Hampshire County Council erects a sign the entrance to the open Forest at Moyles Court.

I have not yet received a reply from Hampshire County Council, and when I do, I will update the Court further.

Meanwhile, we have requested that Hampshire Constabulary consider the area as a site for our Verderers-funded Speed Camera Van.’

20th April 2016

2016/8582 ROAD THROUGH LINWOOD

‘I have received a disappointing reply from Hampshire County Council regarding the excess traffic through Linwood. It is a classic local government one-and-a-half pages to tell me that the Council will do nothing to reduce the speed limit through Linwood. And also that the proposal to protect the road verges across Broomy Plain, and install passing places, has been rejected by something called the Operation Resilience team, without any reference to, or consultation with, the Verderers. The ongoing damage to the Broomy Plain verges, which are SSSI, is a matter of continuing concern, and I will write back to suggest to Hampshire County Council that it cannot ignore its responsibilities under national legislation.’

The NFA support initiatives to reduce animal accidents and make the roads of the Forest safe. In developing our own Road Safety campaign we will be fully supporting the efforts of the Verderers, and concerned residents such as Mr. Deacon. We are very disappointed with HCC’s response; and its own stated criteria “road character”, “accident history”, “road safety issues”, and “the presence of amenities” make this area an obvious candidate for slower speeds and road safety measures.

Hit and Run Accident Prosecutions

Now that the foals are starting to appear on the open forest, with more due to drop throughout May, we felt we should publicise the now available announcements from the Official Verderer at the March 2016 Court.

ANNOUNCEMENTS & DECISIONS BY THE OFFICIAL VERDERER

2016/8523 HIT AND RUN ACCIDENTS – PROSECUTION FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY

The Court is appalled by the increase in Hit and Run drivers after hitting a legally grazing animal. May I remind everyone that the stock is grazing the New Forest by right, and you are driving the roads by privilege.

If a Hit & Run driver is identified, the Verderers will push for the police to prosecute for animal cruelty, possibly leading to a jail sentence. I would like to remind the Court of a past prosecution whereby a driver from Hyde was convicted in Southampton Magistrates Court of failing to stop and report an accident and causing unnecessary suffering under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. On the charge of ‘causing unnecessary suffering to an animal’ he was sentenced 28 days detention.

The Court will urge the relevant authorities to prosecute for cruelty wherever such a case arises. The rules on simply reporting a motor accident are quite separate from those governing cruelty. It may be sufficient to report damage to a garden fence within 24 hours. Cruelty results from leaving an animal suffering for any length of time that can be avoided. The police should always be telephoned within minutes. If you have no mobile phone signal, knock on the nearest house and ask to use the landline!’

Here’s the Verderers response to Richard Deacon’s excellent presentment from February, which, with his kind permission we were able to share previously.

2016/8524 ROAD THROUGH LINWOOD

‘Thank you’ to Richard Deacon for making his presentment about speeding though Linwood. The Verderers support you in your desire to slow down the traffic, and also your wish to remove much of the traffic by discouraging the use of this road as a rat run to avoid the A31. I therefore wrote in mid-February to Hampshire County Council to request that the speed limit through Linwood Village be reduced from 40mph to 30mph as it is in most other New Forest Villages.

In my letter, I have also chased up for Hampshire County Council’s long-awaited proposal to make the road across Broomy Plain a single track with passing places. If a single track road with passing places were implemented here, traffic would be slowed by the inconvenience, and use as an A31 bypass would diminish considerably.

And I have requested that Hampshire County Council erects a sign the entrance to the open Forest at Moyles Court.

I have not yet received a reply from Hampshire County Council, and when I do, I will update the Court further.

Meanwhile, we have requested that Hampshire Constabulary consider the area as a site for our Verderers-funded Speed Camera Van.’

We’d further note that at the April Verderers court, the Official Verderer was displeased by Hampshire County Council’s inadequate response to this issue. Details as they become available… (Court proceedings are currently only published after minutes of both the private in camera meetings of the Verderers and the sitting of the open court have been approved at the following month’s session).

Problems with excessive Traffic and Hit & Run accidents in 2015

Presentment to Verderers Court 10th Feb 2016, by Richard Deacon (shared here with his kind permission)

Appleslade Bottom, Linwood –
Problems with excessive Traffic and Hit & Run accidents in 2015.

The Commoners living in the hamlet of Linwood, wish to draw the Verderers’ attention to recent unacceptable traffic movements, speed and accidents involving our cattle and ponies depastured on the Forest.

For an unclassified and narrow single track road, passing through the village, we have been subjected to extraordinary traffic volumes as commuters seek to avoid the ever growing congestion problems on the A31, particularly at and around Poulner Hill / Picket Post.

Over an eight month period we have routinely experienced excessive peak traffic flows in the early evenings, most notably on Thursday and Friday and whenever an accident occurs on the A31, between Cadnam and Ringwood. ‘Rat run’ activity, travelling east, is less intense but fraught with excessive speed, particularly when driving blind into the morning sun. In summer, peak west bound homeward traffic has reached 700 movements per hour and we have recorded 576 movements in an hour in the last month.

In an 8 month period and over an 800m length of this single track road at Appleslade Bottom, we have sustained 3 Hit & Run accidents, resulting in 2 ponies destroyed and a cow knocked clean off her feet. She survived the collision with a Mercedes car, but was left cast in the middle of the road with her legs upslope. She regained her footing with help from experienced passers by. The badly damaged car was driven off unexpectedly, but pulled up when a temporary traffic light turned red. The quick thinking lady witness to the accident, ran and pulled the driver out of the car. Veterinary bills arising have still to be settled by the offender.

The day old foal lost with a broken leg last May, had clearly been dragged along the road under a vehicle. No report was received either by the Police or the Verderers.

In the first week of January, a local taxi hit and broke the leg of a chestnut gelding sustaining sufficient damage to the vehicle to leave a headlight hanging out of its seating. This taxi left the scene, collected its passengers in the village, drove back past the scene of the accident, but only made a police report within the statutory 24 hours. Fortunately, I found the distressed animal still at the roadside, phoned my local agister who quickly arrived to do the necessary dispatch.

The incidents described clearly show a worsening of the situation in Linwood whose road has even been described by one traffic policeman with some amusement – ‘ Oh! you mean the A31 Bypass.’ There is no air of amusement amongst the Linwood residents, one of whom has surrendered, sold up and moved out of the village, citing this very issue.

We seek the Verderers intervention and help on the following issues:

For some eight years now I have endeavoured unsuccessfully, to provide appropriate signage on the Linwood Road. Despite my best efforts, there is still none between Moyles Court and Lyndhurst or Longcross. To put this in context, motorists diverting off the A31 and arriving at Godshill in similar numbers to Linwood are confronted by copious signage, a cattle grid, 30mph restriction and traffic calming measures / pinchpoints.

The time has come to put Linwood on the map, quite literally. 700 unfamiliar motorists an hour finding themselves diverted off the A31 have a need to know they are entering a village community and that livestock are likely to be on the road ahead!

It is my view that the village confines need to be delineated with suitable boundary markers such as have been erected at Breamore and Charlton All Saints on the A338. Safe, plastic wicket gate sized panels of rustic appearance need to be erected on opposing verges to identify the village limits. The usual yellow reflective signs, warning of the presence of ‘Animals on the road, Day and Night’ need to be deployed. A 30mph restriction within the village would be similarly appropriate.

Our local press reports this very week that 10,000 speeding motorists have been caught to date on Forest roads. Linwood too could use some of this enforcement. I have observed none to date. Recent repairs to road edges have made this rat run route safer and more attractive to speeding commuters.
Finally, It should be a punishable or even publishable offence for anyone involved in an accident with a depastured animal to leave the scene or the limits of the cattle gridded enclosure without first ensuring that a report of the incident has reached the Verderers Office. Reliance on the statutory 24 hour accident report to a local police station is hopelessly, too little, too late.

It is a nonsense that ‘Out of Hours’ accident notification is routed through an Edinburgh call receiver with no understanding of local terrain, place names and routes. Could the Verderers consideration be given to setting up local accident reporting stations. Reporting accuracy and response might improve the situation for injured stock and reduce the frequent ‘Nothing Found’ outcome. In dead mobile phone areas such as the whole of Linwood, a local volunteer reporting centre marked by a red equine silhouette posted on the roadside gate would suffice to serve the reporting needs of a passing motorist unfortunate enough to have hit an animal. I would be happy to volunteer such a service for the Linwood area.

Richard Deacon, Linwood resident and a practising commoner, retired civil engineer with considerable experience of highway and environmental engineering. Shared with permission to this NFA page. The NFA support initiatives to reduce animal accidents and make the roads of the Forest safe.