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Transport

The first main road through Ropley came in 1753 with the Act of Parliament authorising toll roads and turnpikes. The roads were seriously challenged by the railways in the 19th C, to the point that the County Surveyor in 1953 said of those days that “everybody thought that the day of the roads was finished. This period of neglect led to some of the things we are suffering from today, such as bad foundations”. In the 1960’s a general reconstruction programme was undertaken, and the A31 was im- proved. Alignment was improved at the Dean to in- crease visibility along its length, and to cut down the number of accidents at the Chequers. Footpaths were run alongside from Bishop’s Sutton up to the Chequers in North Street. After the war there was a regular bus service into Alresford and Petersfield, but this declined with the growth of car ownership.

Car Parking

With 1200 roadworthy vehicles in the village this was one of the key issues of the questionnaire with the village split equally three ways; 33% wanting more, 33% against and 33% having no opinion. There were 304 suggestions for more parking. The main areas of contention were;

Around the Church, from Vicarage Lane and the Pondside Stores to the school. Ropley Dene and Darvill Road (Toyota garage) Dunsells Lane where parking could be increased by extending existing bays and making new ones towards Town Close Surgery, which may be soon resolved Watercress Line parking

As said previously the most regular means of transport is the car, therefore it was not surprising that only 75 people (9%) experienced difficulty in getting out of Ropley. Half of these were households without a car or younger people in the village. It was disappointing that there was little support for a community bus service with 91% of the respondents having no opinion.

The lack of off-street parking in Church Street is perhaps felt the most keenly, as affecting the rural character of the village. Whether the Parish Council can provide extra parking, or whether this would simply result in more car parking spaces with the road still used for car parking as before, is an open question.

Less than half the number of people with trans- port difficulties, 28, said they would regularly use a voluntary car service, which is about the same number of volunteers willing to participate as a driver in such a scheme. but one wonders if a formal scheme was set up, would it go the same way as the community bus?

No opinion

53.9

There was more support for im- provements in the public bus service with 843 respondents making the following suggestions;

As with the community bus ques- tion a high percentage, 54%, had no opinion.

Options

Access for those with disabilities

Weekday timetables

Reliability

Bus stop location

Weekend timetables

10.7

19.3

19.8

20.4

21.2

Routes

26.3

Support for im- provements in the public bus service

Cost

0

10

30.5

20

30

40

Percentage of respondents

50

60

26 — Ropley at the Millennium

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