The Hydestile Crossroads, where accidents occur with regularity, has long been a safety concern to Hambledon residents. The parish council secured a site meeting with a senior highways engineer from Surrey County Council to see if improvements could be made.
SCC has maintained that all signage and road markings are in accordance with statutory regulations and that nothing further could be done. However, it agreed to meet at the crossroads to investigate further.
Some progress was made. SCC will repaint the road markings, which have become obscured at the bottom of Salt Lane, and will support vegetation cuts which would allow for the provision of an additional sign, warning of the Give Way junction ahead.
This would be installed on the right-hand side of the approach to the junction on Salt Lane, where a narrow strip of verge on the right will be cut to provide space for the post-mounted sign.
A dying ash tree opposite the bus shelter can also be removed and a bramble patch beside it has already been cut. The intention is to improve sight lines for motorists at the junction.
Most accidents are caused by vehicles crossing over from Salt Lane towards Milford, and from Station Road across to Salt Lane, in front of cars travelling with a right of way on Hambledon Road. Some drivers have claimed that they were unaware of the junction, although misjudgements clearly play a part.
The engineer said that the junction did not meet the criteria to change it from a Give Way to a Stop, nor would Surrey CC consider changing priorities or installing a small roundabout. He conceded that the steepness of the banks and lack of a verge on the approach on Salt Lane meant that the existing signs were difficult to see. But he insisted that the signage was at the correct statutory distance.
Several issues emerged from the meeting, which was attended by Stewart Payne, parish council chairman, and Councillor Robin McKeith, who has responsibility for highways issues, together with several Hydestile residents.
SCC data on road accidents – upon which decisions are based – does not include the many minor non-injury accidents, which occur. And budget restraints mean that many scheduled works get put back. Inspections on vegetation growth and the state of white lines only take place annually.
It was agreed that the parish council would endeavour to report all issues on-line as they occur and the suggested vegetation cuts and the provision of the additional sign would also be requested with an assurance that approval is likely be given.
The removal of the dying ash, however, will present a budget issue for the parish council. It is likely to take three years for the council to undertake the task. If the parish council were to do it, it would require engaging a private contractor and a road closure while the work is carried out.
- In the meantime, discussions continue over a proposal to impose a ban on HGV’s using the extremely narrow Salt/Markwick Lanes. Local resident Paul Osborne, Hambledon Parish Council and our SCC Ward councillor Kevin Deanus are pressing Surrey Highways to implement mandatory restrictions and a plan, which would involve rerouting HGV away from narrow and unsuitable lanes in Hambledon and neighbouring areas, is currently being considered.