The Trust and other organisations have for many years been debating the issues of traffic congestion and air pollution and their impact on the health and enjoyment of living in the City. The post-war growth of suburbs to the west of Winchester and the rapid rise of car ownership, have introduced high levels of traffic and parking in the City Centre and suburbs.
Traffic and car parks are visually intrusive, create noise, pollute the air and make life unpleasant for pedestrians. They also damage the character of the walled area of the historic City with its narrow streets which too frequently suffer from traffic congestion. Measures are required that offer feasible and attractive alternative ways to move in and around Winchester.
The Trust has always supported the Park and Ride Strategy. In the light of all the problems now associated with motor traffic, more recently the Trust has argued that additional measures are required that lead to a significant reduction in traffic entering the centre of Winchester. It now advocates that the number of parking spaces should be substantially reduced in the central area.
The Trust supports the Winchester Movement Strategy adopted by Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council in early 2019 with its three priorities of reducing city centre traffic; supporting healthier lifestyle choices; and investing in infrastructure to support sustainable growth. The test will be whether the measures proposed in support of these priorities will in fact lead to a reduction in city centre traffic. Much hope is invested in the proposal to introduce bus gates on some radial routes. Will this reduce the number of cars entering the centre at busy times and give a clear run to buses?
The Trust is also concerned about the impact on traffic levels of the major new developments currently being planned for the City - the regeneration of the City centre, the railway station and its surrounding area and the new leisure centre at Bar End. We have made it clear to the City Council that the 3 priorities of the Movement Strategy should be supported by bold decisions and actions which reduce cars and parking spaces and promote the sustainable travel modes of bus, bicycle, walking and train.
Click on the image to go to the County Council’s website and download the report