Highways England is pressing on with their A31 scheme with a seemingly total disregard for the impact on the residents and shopkeepers of Ringwood. As things stand, with the reversal of traffic flow in Meeting House Lane, there is only one vehicular access to the High Street, Market Place and West Street (i.e. the narrow stretch of the Christchurch Road from Greyfriars to Fridays Cross). This narrow stretch of road is currently reduced to a single lane because of roadworks at the entrance to Greyfriars. Without the A31 Highways England scheme, access to the town centre is already severely constricted. When the slip road on to the A31 from the Mansfield Road/Furlong roundabout is closed and the Mansfield Road roadworks begin in earnest, the effect on Ringwood, and in particular the commercial life of the town centre, will be devastating. It is too late to find and fund any mitigation measures. The only possible course of action is to seek compensation. I have no means of calculating the commercial/financial (not to mention psychological) damage the Highways England scheme will do to Ringwood and its residents but I'm pretty sure it will run into many millions of pounds. Perhaps the Town Council (as the representatives and champions for Ringwood) and Sir Desmond Swayne (our MP) could be persuaded to consider how best to broach the subject of substantial compensation for our distinguished but battered market town.
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