HIGHWAYS chiefs have come up with a controversial new road layout for one of the most notorious traffic troublespots in Basingstoke.

Brighton Hill Roundabout, which is on the A30, is the focus of a series of measures which may cost up to £1.5million to implement.

Hampshire County Council highways engineers are proposing that traffic entering the roundabout from Western Way is only allowed to turn left into Winchester Road.

Road users wanting to travel to Brighton Hill, Kempshott and junction seven of the M3 would have to travel down to Winchester Road Roundabout and double back up the other side of the dual carriageway.

New traffic regulations and a remodelled traffic island in Western Way would enforce the change.

Other measures in the plan include new lane markings, anti-skid surfacing and several hundred yards of bus lane on Brighton Way up to the roundabout. The exit of Harrow Way on to the roundabout would also be altered.

Cash for the scheme - which has the support of borough council leader Cllr Brian Gurden - would come from developers, including £423,000 already in the kitty from Homebase, which must be spent by May 2006.

Once finalised, the scheme would be advertised for public comment in the autumn, with final approval to be sought from Hampshire County Council leader Cllr Ken Thornber.

If the plan gets the go-ahead, construction work - which would take place at night - would begin next summer.

The scheme met with a very mixed response when it was presented to Basingstoke borough councillors at a meeting of the development control committee.

Ian Eyres, a senior engineer from Hampshire County Council, said: "This scheme is primarily related to the removal of accidents. There is a significant record of accidents on that roundabout."

He outlined the proposal as part of a discussion on whether to give the thumbs-up to a new B&Q store, earmarked for the remaining part of the Smiths Industries site, near Brighton Hill Roundabout.

Cllr Harry Robinson, from the Hatch Warren ward, said the traffic was already "murderous", and that the scheme and the B&Q proposal would only make it worse.

He said: "Is it me or is this a crazy scheme? I cannot see that it does anything to alleviate the traffic problems." Other councillors, including Cllr Gerry Traynor, whose South Ham ward borders the roundabout, said they were worried about the scheme causing rat-running along Buckland Avenue.

Cllr Andy McCormick, who is a member of Basingstoke Road Safety Council, said the plan was only a partial solution, and felt consideration needed to be given to Winchester Road Roundabout.

It is expected that the B&Q application - which was approved by the committee - will be the subject of a public inquiry, with a separate application by Wickes for a DIY store near Thornycroft Roundabout.

Mr Eyres said the county council did not believe the extra traffic generated would justify refusal.

Speaking after the meeting, Basingstoke council leader Cllr Brian Gurden said he believed the scheme for Brighton Hill Roundabout ought to go ahead because it was a good stop-gap that would at least improve safety.

He said a three-year accident survey showed the Western Way entry on to the roundabout was a dangerous crossing where there had been high-impact accidents.

"You should not have to spurt out and take a chance. That's where the left turn comes in," he added.

Cllr Gurden, who represents Brighton Hill North ward and is also a county councillor, admitted a bus lane in Brighton Way might be unpopular, but he said it was thought necessary because traffic had increased by 40 per cent since the opening of the ASDA store in Brighton Hill.

Do you have a view on the proposals for the Brighton Hill Roundabout? Write to The Letters Editor, Gazette Newspapers, Gaze-tte House, Pelton Road, Basingstoke, RG21 6YD, or e-mail editor@basingstoke gazette.co.uk