“RIDICULOUS, a nightmare and desperately unsafe.”
That is how villagers have described plans to divert festival-goers along country lanes to tackle traffic chaos at one of Hampshire’s biggest music events.
Organisers of the annual BoomTown festival near Winchester want 75 coaches and up to 750 camper vans directed from the M3 through Twyford and Morestead.
The plan is to direct them through Twyford on to Hazeley Road, through Morestead and past Owslebury via Longwood Road to the A272.
Organisers and police hope the plan will stop gridlock on the A31 caused by revellers heading from junction 9 of the M3 to the BoomTown site at Matterley Bowl Festival officials hope to increase the numbers attending from 30,000 to 38,000 for 2014 with a further increase to 45,000 next year and 49,999 in 2016. This year’s event will be on August 7-11.
Yet they met a barrage of criticism when they met councillors and residents to discuss the issue.
They said the proposals would not be safe and raised concerns over the logistics of turning such large and numerous vehicles.
Daryl Henry, parish councillor for Twyford, said: “You’re talking about putting 75 coaches and 750 camper vans through that area which is desperately unsafe.”
Resident Sue Padwick, 63, retired, of Hazeley Road, said: “I’m not impressed. It’s bad enough along this road as it is without extra traffic. If that much traffic is on the road we won’t be able to get out of the driveway because it will come to a standstill at some point – it won’t be able to cope with it.”
A resident of Longwood Road, who did not want to be named, said: “No way! I think that is just ridiculous! With all the cyclists, riders and walkers, it would be a nightmare. I just cannot see the purpose.” BoomTown organisers were also attacked for not relaying the information sooner.
Cllr Rob Humby, who represents the area on both Hampshire and Winchester councils, said: “It’s not how you intend to manage it, it’s about the consultation with residents and businesses and that has been unfortunate.”
Tom Ferris, of CTM Traffic Management, told residents: “Can I first apologise to those people who did not know we are going to be using routes through Twyford and Morestead.
“I appreciate the concerns you have had with traffic coming thorough your village; more than you have had previously. But it’s about spreading the traffic. I know this isn’t great for you but if we can push coach movement in the long term by generating new routes in, we can reduce the number of cars but still extend the number of people.”
City council officers and Hampshire police said assessing new routes was vital to ease congestion on the A31.
Sergeant Jason Holford, who works in strategic operations, said: “In the last two or three years we have talked about the pressure on junction 9 of the M3 and it’s always been a problem. What we have got to be able to do is utilise everything at our disposal.”
The traffic management plan has been lodged with the authorities and will be decided one month before the festival begins.