The parish of Whitchurch has an irregular shape and a north-south orientation.
The town of Whitchurch has always been a ‘place between places’, and its star-like shape, its internal road and street network and its connections with the outside world all reflect this. It lies midway between Newbury and Winchester, Basingstoke and Andover, and, as the intersection for roads connecting these two pairs of larger towns, Whitchurch has both thrived and suffered from its position.
Before the age of the motor car Whitchurch was the centre for local markets and a stopping off point for transport. Residents say that the advent of the motor car, however, has brought more pain than prosperity, with the convergence of cars and heavy goods vehicles causing acute traffic congestion, noise and air pollution to the relatively few and sometimes narrow through streets of the town.
The heavy traffic and the limited parking close to shops both reduce the prospects of any revival of a thriving retail economy in the town and seriously detract from the quality of life of those who walk its streets. In spite of the building of the A34 bypass and some traffic-calming measures, traffic and parking problems remain at the top of the list of concerns that residents voiced in our public opinion survey and other feedback exercises. These problems should be considered in any future developments in the town.
The shape and road pattern of Whitchurch means that any development of new houses or commercial premises will increase traffic congestion in the centre of town unless some peripheral roads can be built to relieve the pressure on the through streets by taking traffic away from the centre. Such peripheral roads, however, will be difficult to build without destroying the country feel and the views which so many residents say they treasure.