M3 FLEET SERVICES BACK-DOOR ENTRANCE: read this if you are aware/use this shortcut!

Just back from Hartley Wintney Parish Council (2 Aug 2010)

Many residents in and around Fleet, Dogmersfield and Hartley Wintney are aware of a back-door entrance to Fleet Services (up Pale Lane) providing semi-licit access to the M3, on the northbound carriageway towards London. Apparently local residents have complained about increased traffic in the area, and others are saying “there’s bound to be an accident one of these days” and similar – which is almost certainly correct if you think about it.

The response has been much what you would expect; rather than fix the rising bollards (apparently “they keep being vandalised”) instead the Police have been called-in, ANPR (license-plate reading) cameras have been installed, and we presume that threatening letters will soon be sent to people who are confirmed to be using this shortcut.

The interesting thing was the next part of the discussion. I am not a lawyer so take this all with a pinch of salt – but as I understood what was said at the meeting, apparently there would be very dubious grounds for prosecuting anyone at the moment:

  • It seems that the shortcut is not “adopted highway” – ie: not under local government control – and apparently neither do Fleet Services own the ground which it crosses; so neither Council nor Services are apparently in a position to take action regarding its use.
  • In addition I believe that they can’t prosecute people for trespass on either end of the shortcut – presumably this is something to do with the shortcut abutting two public highways, or something like that.

– thus I would agree with some of my Parish Councillors that the legal basis upon which anyone could be prosecuted for using the shortcut seems rather dubious.

At the council meeting it was stated that [some apparent authorities] were “quite certain” that they would have the ability to send letters and prosecute, but the sensation around the council table was that this “certainty” might be more grounded in hope than fact.

If the local council were to “adopt” the two meter stretch of road that spans across the verge then some force of law could be brought to bear, but until that time it seems that anyone facing prosecution would do well to enquire what foundation existed for prosecution?

In any case it’s probably worth avoiding the shortcut unless you are someone who’s supposed to be using it – which in essence is what they want to achieve.

10 Replies to “M3 FLEET SERVICES BACK-DOOR ENTRANCE: read this if you are aware/use this shortcut!”

  1. From http://www.elvethamheathforum.info/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3715

    sue-da-fed
    Cadet

    United Kingdom
    11 Posts

    Posted – 08/06/2010 : 17:39:23

    I got pulled over by the police for joining the M3 via fleet services on the London bound side on Monday 7th June (via Rotten Green Lane/Pale Lane). As I was in a rush to get to a meeting (hence using the “Fleet Cheat”) I was unable to argue the toss with the PC who was issuing the ticket (3 points and £60 fine).

    What they booked me for was Contravening a No Entry sign. Now, I know for a fact that this small section of crossover (where the retractable bollards are located) is not owned by the local authority, and I think is therefore private. I am awaiting confirmation of this from Hart District, Hampshire Council, and the Highways Agency. Also, mounted underneath the No Entry sign, is a plate stating clearly “Not dedicated as highway” or words to that effect, suspicious hey?

    Furthermore, in order to enforce this No Entry sign you’ll need to have a traffic regulation order in place, and if this isn’t, then you can’t enforce it! Again, I am waiting for confirmation of this too, but after a conversation with my contact in Hart, it looks as though there isn’t!!

    Just to give you insight, I’m a Highway Design Engineer and have dealt with TRO’s etc for many years, I’m determined to get this over ruled as I think it’s vastly unfair.

    I’ll be posting again if I have any results. My advice to you if you have been given a ticket is to watch this space!!

    sue-da-fed
    Cadet

    United Kingdom
    11 Posts

    Posted – 08/06/2010 : 22:17:03
    All, I have just received confirmation from Hampshire Constabulary that there is no Traffic Regulation Order in place on the access mentioned in my original post (presumably this is also the case for the West bound section too). So, if you (like me) was booked for contravening a no entry sign, or know of anyone else who has been ticketed, please tell them to write to Hants Constabulary to revoke the fine and penalty points. They have done exactly that for me.

    From http://www.elvethamheathforum.info/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=3715&whichpage=2

    sue-da-fed
    Cadet

    United Kingdom
    11 Posts

    Posted – 09/06/2010 : 19:43:54 s
    Hi all, just to keep you up to date, I requested written statements from the Highways Agency, Hants Council & Hart District Council to confirm that there is no Traffic Regulation Order on the No-Entry signs on Pale Lane (North Bound M3). I have today received confirmation from the Highways Agency that the land in question is outside of their control, and they to believe it to be private (I know it’s private, but it means a lot more when authorities put it in writing).

    As it appears that some of you guys have been ticketed, I’ll post their responses if and when they arrive. That way you’ll be able to make your case. Just to protect the identity of the chap at the HA who emailed me, I’ve removed his footer and his tel number.

    The official response from the Highways Agency:

    Dear Mr B

    Regarding my telephone message,

    Thank you for contacting the Highways Agency regarding the Traffic Regulation Order for the sign located on the provided document. Your enquiry has been forwarded to EnterpriseMouchel for investigation and reply, as we are the Managing Agent Contractor for the Highways Agency in central southern England (Area 3 of the Highways Agency)

    The Highways Agency’s is responsible for the Main M3 carriageway and the slip road from the M3 into the service area on the London bound side. The sign referred to is located beyond the termination point of our network and within land that we believe the operator for the services are responsible.

    It would help my investigation, if you are able to call me on to discus the reasons behind this request. However, I believe that the operator of the services would be best placed to answer your request and provide any relevant documents.

    We thank you for taking the time to raise this matter with us, and please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance with your enquiry.

    Please note that you will not receive any additional correspondence from the Highways Agency’s Information Line now that this enquiry has been passed on for investigation.

    Yours Sincerely

    On behalf of the Area 3 Highways Agency

    With regards to why the police are enforcing the entrance is simply because there has been so much publicity about these entrances/exits. They shouldn’t be, but they are.

    Everyone should remain vigilant though, because I think that eventually Fleet Services will have to enforce access on this section of road, as I can’t see Hart Council allowing them to close it as it serves as both a service entrance, and an E.A.R (emergency access route) to the M3. This will probably mean Fleet services using a private security firm and massive fines!!

    Hope this helps.

    sue-da-fed
    Cadet

    United Kingdom
    11 Posts

    Posted – 15/06/2010 : 14:06:51
    Hi all,

    Last post on this from me, I think this puts all doubts to rest regarding the No Entry signs on Pale Lane. Hart Council have confirmed the following:

    Dear ,
    A number of people have asked this question in the last few days.
    I confirm that Hart District Council has not passed a Traffic Regulation Order to accompany sign diagram No.616 (No Entry) at the entrance to Fleet Services.
    Hampshire County Council has not passed a Traffic Regulation Order. The only other option is that the Highways Agency, responsible for the motorway network, may have done so. I am still awaiting a reply from them.

    Hart District Council,
    Civic Offices,
    Fleet,
    HANTS.
    GU51 4AE
    http://www.hart.gov.uk
    PLEASE CONSIDER THE ENVIRONMENT BEFORE PRINTING THIS EMAIL

    So, we have confirmation that the HA do not have a TRO (see previous posts), and now Hart have confirmed not only that they have not passed a TRO, but that Hampshire County haven’t either. This therefore means that the signs are not enforceable by law, however, this does not stop Welcome Break from prosecuting you privately for trespass.

  2. After all the pasting above – for which I claim no credit or correctness – I am still very interested in the “they can’t do people for trespass” comment from the council meeting last night.

    If Fleet Services/Ravenscroft actually don’t own the verge, it could be very interesting.

  3. I remember hearing anecdotally, that *all* motorway service areas have non-motorway vehicular access to them; this is apparently so that they do not fall foul of the Disability Discrimination Act, in terms of employment of staff who are unable, for reasons of their disabilities, to drive cars on motorways. Such folk would need a non-motorway route to work.

    Again, it’s only an anecdote, but I’d be entirely unsurprised if there was some truth in it.

  4. Exit roads north and south have been in use for years. They never where an issue before and had very little traffic use them until Elvetham Heath estate was built. Due to the nature of our business we operate at all hours of the day and night on Fleet Services (both sides) and the slip roads have become a rat race anytime of day or night, especially South bound. Now the taxi companies have had to apply to have registration numbers added to database to hopefully stop tickets being issued. To date we have had no response from Welcome break.

  5. If I might be so bold as to give a half-justifiable use of these MSA ‘back doors’ (as well as revive such an old thread), if you are an EV driver, being able to use the much shorter means of getting from one side of the MSA to the other is a huge advantage if, as regularly happens, the rapid EV charger on one side is defective, you can nip arround to the other side, use it and then nip back without having to traipse for miles to and forth on the same stretch of MW.

    I usually try to get permission in advance if I know the rapid charger in question is defective but late at night when no-one wants to answer the phone or in a charging emergency, MSA ‘back doors’ are very helpful to us crazy, early adopter EVers. MW

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