LETTER:View from the Newbury bypass

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From Dr Geoffrey Kaye

Sir: Your article "Road protesters prepare for the battle of Newbury" (7 July) reminded me of the walk I took through the water meadows of St Cross and from there to the top of St Catherine's Hill the evening after all traffic started to be routed through the cutting in Twyford Down. It was like the Day of the Triffids. The only thing that broke the silence was the song of birds and the ripples of the Itchen. After nearly 50 years, there was no traffic on the Winchester bypass. A superb outdoor amenity was returned to its original tranquillity.

Since then the old bypass has been removed and the ground contoured to what it was before the building of the bypass and the earlier railway. Significant work has been done by Hampshire county council in improving the whole area of St Catherine's Hill, creating a country park within 15 minutes' walk of the centre of Winchester. At the same time, those who need to travel by road have had their journey significantly improved until they get to Newbury.

We are constantly presented with the antics of road protesters as they try to prevent the building of a necessary bypass or road extension. I have yet to see a report of the after-effects of the building of these bypasses. I presume the benefits to the local inhabitants and necessary road users are not worthy of extravagant, and often irresponsible, protests and consequently do not attract media coverage.

Yours sincerely,

Geoffrey Kaye

Littleton, Winchester

7 July