A32 closure robs Lower Farringdon pub of business

Monday 11th July 2022 6:00 am
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Road closure signs at the A32 exit from the A31, June 2022.
The A32 exit from the A31 will be closed for 15 weeks while Hampshire County Council does flood prevention work in Lower Farringdon (Tindle )

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A pub owner in Lower Farringdon has hit out at Hampshire County Council over its 15-week closure of the A32 Gosport Road through the village.

On June 27 it began a scheme to prevent a repeat of flooding which hit Lower Farringdon in 2014. That had a serious effect on The Golden Pheasant, but David Scholes fears efforts to stop it happening again will hit him in the pocket once more.

He said: “The situation at the moment with the new flood drainage works leaves us with no trade to speak of until at least 4.30pm every afternoon, when the only access to us is via Brightstone Lane from Four Marks or via Gaston Lane or Hall Lane from the Selborne Road from Alton.

“We have no passing trade at all and we virtually have no business. It’s gone back to February through to April 2014 when we basically had very little business except evening regulars wearing wellies and waders.

“We consulted the Hampshire County Council supervisors the week before the road closure and were advised that we wouldn’t be compensated for loss of business at all.

“The works were originally scheduled for a ten-week period from Manor Farm Road through to Brightstone Lane, passing our pub, and then a further five-week period continuing from Brightstone Lane to Newton Valence Lane. So who wants to buy a nice pub?”

Cllr Edward Heron, the council’s executive lead member for transport and environment strategy, said: “I’m sorry to hear about Mr Scholes’ concerns about the works that we’re currently undertaking. The flood prevention scheme is designed to reduce the risk of flooding that we saw in 2000-01 and the winter of 2013-14 happening again.

“Following weeks of sustained exceptional rainfall between September and December 2000, Lower Farringdon suffered severe flooding which resulted in the A32 being closed and 16 homes being evacuated in December 2000. The flood waters eventually receded in June 2001.

“In the winter of 2013-14, groundwater rose again in Lower Farringdon and mixed with surface water run-off from extensive rainfall, discharged on to the A32, and flowed towards the Lower Farringdon crossroads.

“Flooding lasted from the beginning of February 2014 to the end of April 2014. During this incident, approximately 22 properties were directly impacted, with ten having their cellars flooded.

“Had preventative emergency measures not been taken, all 22 properties would have experienced further internal flooding. Even with emergency measures, the A32 was closed for two months. This caused significant access and travel disruption to local residents and businesses.

“This is a complex and challenging scheme and sadly this period of disruption is unavoidable. We will always do what we can to minimise the disruption of any work that we undertake on the highway and, as far as possible, we work with residents and businesses to that end.

“In this case, county council officers have spent time with local businesses, including The Golden Pheasant, in advance of the works to understand any concerns, and to build in provision to manage their access. However, compensation for planned highway works is not something that the county council is able to offer.

“The traffic management arrangements include carefully planned diversion routes to ensure that traffic, including heavy articulated lorries, are using like for like roads, and we will monitor those arrangements to ensure we take any possible opportunity to further minimise disruption.

“I can confirm that the road will be opened temporarily, from August 5 to 16, when the Jalsa Salana and Boomtown festivals are taking place in the area.

“We will continue to meet with the local community to see whether it is possible to provide further improvements in the traffic management arrangements, and we will be keeping the works programme under review to see if the duration of the works can be shortened, and the A32 re-opened at the earliest date.”

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