TWO TEST Valley community leaders have heavily criticised civic chiefs for not improving a junction near Romsey following a two-car crash.

This comes after cllr Alan Dowden, who represents Valley Park on the borough council, claimed Rownhams Lane which meets Botley Road, North Baddesley, needed to be changed "as soon as possible" after two Mercedes collided on May 16 - the second accident in nine months.

Now cllr Dowden and cllr Alan Warnes have hit out at Hampshire County Council (HCC) for not making the junction safer, claiming this is a result of budget cuts.

However, HCC defended their decision and stated it "is a priority" for them to keep the county's roads safe. 

Cllr Dowden said: "I had a response from HCC about the junction and the truth is, unless there are many serious injury accidents, improvements will only be carried out by the county council where they are most needed.

"It is a sad fact of life these days local authorities have had their funding cut to the bone and all we get from the Government is nice sounding sound bites in order to please the public."

He added: "This is an area I have been lobbying about as something needs to be done, even if they highlighted the junction more or slowed traffic down coming onto Botley Road, because there have been so many accidents there."

Cllr Alan Warnes, who represents North Baddesley on the borough council, said: "It is really sad we are in this position where we have to wait for someone to die before the council does something.

"The council may not be able to afford the cost of improving this junction, because of cuts from the Government, but there are certain areas we have to really look at.

"It would be good if they could do something even if it is minimal, such as put up signposts to warn motorists of the junction."

He added: "I think it comes down to the amount of heavy traffic that goes across the junction and when all of the children go back to school that is going to be a big issue."

Cllr Rob Humby, Deputy Leader of Hampshire County Council and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, said: “Keeping Hampshire’s roads safe and well maintained is a priority for the County Council, and we prioritise our resources to sites where there is evidence that installing new measures will bring about improvements in road safety.

"We regularly analyse injury accident data to determine what interventions could be introduced to reduce the number of people injured on our roads and previous examinations of the incidents at this particular location, have shown that there were other factors contributing to the recent collisions that were unrelated to the road layout.”