Villagers call for action after Salcey Forest visitors park on grass verges ‘blocking traffic’

Picture: Adam Bridge
Picture: Adam Bridge

Bank holiday visitors to Salcey Forest have been criticised by nearby villagers for parking on grass verges and potentially blocking off roads for emergency services.

A Facebook group for people in Hartwell say the parking is totally inadequate at the popular attraction and have called for action after scenes yesterday of blocked traffic on surrounding roads were posted on social media.

A spokesperson for the group said: “The forest is a wonderful place to go, but the parking is totally inadequate. There used to be an overflow car park but it got really bad with potholes and was closed a while ago.

“I don’t know if people can’t find spaces, or it’s the £1 to £3 parking charge putting them off, but visitors over every bank holiday end up parking along the grass verges and in laybys effectively making the road a single track road and impassable to emergency vehicles.

“I dread to think if there was a fire in Hartwell or an ambulance needed as they would not get through, and would have to turn back to come through Roade,” she added.

“Also for us locals who walk up to the forest we risk our lives crossing the road to get to the main forest area. This weekend was particularly bad.”

The group has emailed the Forestry Commission and local politicians in a bid to get something done.

“Whose responsibility is it to do something about it? I have been told that the Forestry Commission cannot use the space they have on the other side of the road as another car park as the road would need widening to put a crossing in. This would fall to the council and would be too expensive.

“Signs have been put up to say don’t park on the grass verges which are just ignored,” she said. “We need something done before an accident happens.”

A spokeswoman for The Forestry Commission said: ““We are aware that parking on road verges near Salcey Forest causes problems during peak visitor times, and we are discussing potential solutions with the highways authority, which has responsibility for this land, and the police.

“We are also investigating options for expanding parking capacity to alleviate the issue. In the meantime we ask residents and visitors to exercise patience and common sense during busy periods to minimise disruption.”