At the meeting of the Henley Town Council Traffic Advisory Committee yesterday (15 March) the main subject for discussion was the proposed traffic calming pinch point at the Basketmakers Arms on Gravel Hill giving priority going out of town (uphill). The Town Council consultation re. the pinch point had been limited to the residents of Gravel Hill, Milton Close and some properties in Paradise Road. The residents of Hop Gardens and West Street had not been consulted and only found out about the proposed traffic through social media.
Within a few days, West Street, Hop Gardens and residents of Paradise Road who had not been informed organised 50 plus letters and Facebook responses against the pinch point as they said, “it would have resulted in both West Street and Hop Gardens becoming ‘rat runs’ for cars avoiding the congestion on Gravel Hill.”
West Street residents were most vocal in their perceived omission from the consultation and it was agreed that after possible alternatives to the proposed scheme were aired with input from the Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council the traffic calming of Gravel Hill would be revisited, by a further meeting in June with all residents affected by the issues included in the consultation. If a scheme goes ahead any subsequent consultation, in advance of an official Traffic Restriction Order will be carried out by the OCC highways authority.
In January Henley Town Council proposed to pay for the half the cost out of their budget of £23,000 for Traffic Calming Measures with Oxfordshire County Council funding the other half.
The pinch point was one of three traffic calming measures proposed by OCC. The others were a vehicle activated sign to be located on a lamppost behind the Welcome to Henley sign on the approach into the town and a pedestrian refuge located towards the junctions with Hop Gardens and Paradise Road.