Petersfield Town Centre could get more facilities for cyclists and more greenery with planters.
That’s if council officials act on the findings of a public consultation.
The council wants to use money from central government to encourage what it calls “Active Travel”. That’s council jargon for journeys that don’t use a car.
But people were split on whether its proposals offered any benefit to Petersfield.
46 percent said they didn’t – 44% said they would.
And, among people who use cars to get around, more than half believed the proposals were unhelpful.
70% of respondents were in favour of more cycle parking in the town while 44% said they’d like to keep the ban on car traffic by the banks.
If further funding was made available, the survey results suggest people would like more places to sit and rest, and more greenery with planters around the town.
Hampshire County Council received almost one thousand responses to its survey in February and March.
What was proposed?
Planners at Hampshire County Council proposed a number of longer-term changes to the town centre.
These included making the “bus gate” between The Square Brewery and Chapel Street permanent and adding a traffic camera to prevent unlawful car use there.
They also proposed the introduction of planters instead of the red and white plastic barriers. However the results of the survey have come too late to simply swap-out the barriers for planters.
The council was required to remove the barriers by 6 August at the latest.
Their plan also shows ideas for additional cycle spaces in the centre of Petersfield and new signs.
What did the survey results say?
Overall, respondents were split on whether these proposals were beneficial to the town.
It is clear that the red and while barriers were unpopular and the idea of extra cycle spaces was very popular among respondents.
The proposals were least popular among people who relied on private motor vehicles to get in or around Petersfield. They were most popular among local organisations, parents and people who already use “Active Travel” methods (walking, cycling or public transport).
Additional cycling provision was the most popular idea. Ongoing closure of The Square to most vehicles between the banks was the least favoured part of the proposal.
The concept of “attractive planters” was broadly favoured by respondents. However planters were only suggested as a substitute for the unpopular plastic barriers. The survey didn’t offer the idea of having neither.
All groups of respondents were in favour of additional cycle parking in Petersfield town centre. Parents of young children and people who already use active travel methods were most in favour.
Closure of The Square (incorrectly called Swan Street by the council here) between HSBC and the Chapel Street junction received a mixed reaction.
It was least popular among people who rely on motor vehicles and most popular among people who use active travel methods and parents.
Hampshire County Council asked respondents whether they’d like changes to be made permanent if more money was made available to fund them.
Opinion was split with people who rely on motor vehicles to get into and around Petersfield the most critical of that idea.
The survey also sought to discover whether people would be more likely to use active travel methods in the future if local routes supported it.
Some respondents from all groups who took part in the survey said yes, with nearly half of people with children under 16 the most positive about this thought.
Car users appear to be the most stubborn with more than half saying they wouldn’t.
The council survey tested some other ideas that could be introduced if the money was available to fund them.
The most popular request was for more places to sit and rest around town. Additional greenery with planters was another popular proposal and there was evidence that people were keen that furniture and materials were kept consistent with the town’s heritage.
Get the full survey pack
Hampshire County Council has published openly its full report. You can download it here.