The centre of Odiham,including the High Street, contains a vibrant mix of retail services outlets, businesses and residential properties. It seems important that it should retain its distinctive character and continue to flourish despite changes in shopping habits, retail trends, the requirements of businesses and ever-increasing traffic levels.
At OnwardPlan’s first consultation events in January, the Community overwhelmingly supported the following proposed goals for the Village Centre:
- To ensure that new development is achieved in a way that protects or enhances village character and conservation areas.
- To consider the options for improving parking capacity close to the centre.
- Evaluate the opportunities and potential benefits of additional traffic calming measures.
Indeed findings from early engagement since summer 2014 suggested that the following were important:
- The character and reputation of the village as an attractive place for residents and visitors to meet, shop and/or eat and drink should be maintained.
- There may be opportunities to extend pavement culture by widening pavements centrally where practical.
- Introducing traffic calming measures could be beneficial in discouraging through-traffic and slowing down traffic .
- Improvements in parking in central Odiham should be included as part of overall development considerations.
- There is a growing tension to be considered between the benefits traffic brings (e.g. passing trade and convenience of access) and the nuisance it brings (e.g. noise, air pollution and safety concerns).
Here is a summary of the most conclusive results from January’s consultation events:
In January the Community were asked what they would do to improve parking on the High Street, eg. extra parking bays as part of traffic calming measures; residential parking permits; making short-term parking by medical centre free or substantially cheaper; additional new parking area close to the centre (likely to be at the expense of some open/green space).
- In January 2015 many residents said that they would welcome additional parking close to the centre. However, an unprecedented peak in demand for parking was noted in the High Street in early 2015 during substantial construction work since 2014. OPC has been monitoring the situation following recent changes and restrictions. Of the traffic calming methods suggested, a 20mph speed limit and some limitations on HGV traffic through Odiham village were seen as the most acceptable.
- The largest number would like to make short term parking free (though that is outside the remit of the Neighbourhood Plan)
- More parking to encourage visitors was more important to the Community at that time than some restriction of traffic movement in/out of the High St.
Of the traffic calming measures listed the most acceptable traffic calming methods were:
- a 20mph speed limit
- some limitations on HGV traffic through Odiham village
NB. speed bumps were particularly unpopular. Other ideas included a single lane/alternative priority sections (also facilitating some additional lateral parking); raised road level (to create mixed pedestrian/low speed traffic area); mini roundabouts; additional traffic lighted (eg. at King St intersection with the High St).