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Villagers in Sway want say on council leader road closure trial
12:35pm Thursday 27th September 2012 in News
VILLAGE leaders have demanded a halt to a controversial bid to close a road outside county council chief Ken Thornber’s home.
The row was sparked after highways bosses declared they were using special powers to close Back Lane in Sway for a six-month trial period.
Hampshire County Council has denied the decision to create a cul-de-sac had anything to do with the leader’s home. It says the trial closure of the road, used as a rat run, is to see whether the ancient village road could be returned to the National Park from the junction of Pitmore Road.
Shortly after the announcement county council workers were outside Cllr Thornber’s home replacing fencing with studier, ranch style barriers to keep wandering animals at bay.
Now Sway Parish Council has written to county bosses calling for the scheme to be stopped and for villagers to be asked what they think about it.
Parish council chairman Councillor Barry Rickman, also New Forest Council leader and born and bred Sway resident, said: “We wrote to say remember us, the idea that we are the local council and that they need to talk to people locally who use the lane. We want to see some local democracy.”
Villagers meet tonight to discuss the issue at their parish council meeting at Sway Village Hall from 7.30pm.
A petition against the £3,000 experiment already has more than 250 names.
The county council has denied Cllr Thornber was involved in the decision or had prior knowledge of the scheme or the fencing, which was routine maintenance.
It says the proposal is based on environmental reasons, and would support the National Park agenda by focusing traffic on the main routes.
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