SIR: In his letter (Chronicle, March 11) Mr Harbourne concludes by saying that “it is in all our interests to cut the volume of traffic” but offers no suggestions as to how this might be achieved beyond his blank “NO” to the idea of closing Hyde Street. His petition offers only a one-sided view on the issue.

The two canvassers who solicited my signature last week admitted that they had not looked at the online presentation of Hampshire County Council’s proposals and were motivated only by their own interest in having a quick route into the city. The only choice offered to people signing their petition was to say “No” to the closure and they could offer no name or address for anyone to submit a different opinion; indeed they professed to having no idea who had initiated the petition.

I am sure that there are thousands of different views about this proposal among the residents and users of Hyde Street and I urge people to read the proposals for themselves and make full use of the opportunity to offer ideas and suggestions. Our elected representatives deserve a much better indication of public opinion than that provided by this petition.

Glynn Llewellyn,

Marston Gate,



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SIR: Mr Harbourne is absolutely right (Chronicle, Letters, March 11) to say “it is in all our interests to cut the volume of traffic on our roads.” I think it would be better if he were to concentrate on this theme, and abandon his narrow focus on the road outside his front door.

HCC and WCC are right to think that closure of Hyde Street and other streets will ultimately make traffic conditions better for everybody in Winchester, including the residents of Worthy Lane. Many people will be drawn to cycle and walk along Hyde Street rather than drive down Worthy Lane, simply because walking and cycling along Hyde Street will be so pleasant. We have seen this in College Street, whose ambience is now so good without through traffic that it is crowded with people taking their daily Covid-19 inner city walk. This would not be happening if it was still a rat-run.

Unless we grasp this opportunity to support HCC’s proposals for Hyde Street and other streets, we may never get another chance to reduce traffic in Winchester. Research shows that reducing road space (e.g. by keeping Hyde Street closed) usually results in less traffic in surrounding areas; people change their habits. Ironically, this means that Mr Harbourne’s campaign could leave Worthy Lane busier than it would otherwise have been. The simplest way to keep car numbers down in Worthy Lane would be to persuade drivers to park in Coach Park and Cattle Market and stay out of the centre. Better signage might be enough. That way everybody would gain, and nobody would lose.

Recently too many of us have wanted to reject change too easily: Solar cells near Old Alresford, and safe active transport in Winchester must not be allowed to share the fate of turbines near Bullington Cross. If we continue to turn down ideas on reducing carbon, we must come up with more and better alternatives. Otherwise, we will end up doing nothing at all about global heating. Now is almost our last chance.

Phil Gagg,

St Swithun Street,