RESIDENTS and councillors say they fear their village will become a rat run for lorries after plans to revamp a railway bridge have been announced.

Network Rail wants to increase the height of the bridge in Down Farm Lane, in Headbourne Worthy, by around three feet which villagers say will allow lorries travelling to nearby Barton Farm through.

The development will see around 2,000 homes built on land off Andover Road, less than three miles away.

Bevis Clark-Smith, a resident of London Road in Headbourne Worthy, said the traffic is already “bad”.

“I’m terrified that it will lead to an increase in heavy traffic,” he said.

“If this bridge was not here there would be no restriction on the speed of the traffic and raising it will obviously mean that it’s open to large vehicles.

“It’s a concern for everybody in the village.”

At a demonstration eight residents voiced their concerns for the plans, including prospective MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford Jackie Porter.

She said: “We believe this is going to put people’s road safety at risk.

“Cala Homes [Barton Farm developer] is already using Wellhouse Lane as an unofficial route by driving across the grass verge, and I think that shows how vigilant we as a community have got to be.”

Parish councillor Claire Duncan said she thinks the height increase will “destroy the integrity of the village” and there has been little or no communication from Network Rail.

Winchester City Councillor Jane Rutter, who was also at the demonstration, said there is going to be a drop-in event at the church rooms in London Road on February 20 from 3pm-8pm.

Network Rail has not responded to the Chronicle’s request to comment.