On 12th August, National Highways proudly announced completion of its works on West Street in Ringwood:
"The completed work includes:
Widening the footpath along the west side of West Street to improve accessibility for cyclists and walkers
New kerbs and environmental planting
Building a new footpath over the ‘brick bridge’
Widening the footpath over the ‘old Stony’ bridge
Reversing the one way at The Furlong
Introducing new priority give way signs at both bridges to accompany the new and improved footpaths over them
Resurfacing both bridges
Laying new electrical cable along the length of West Street in advance of the main A31 work.
Closing access to the A31 from West Street and erecting signage on the A31 to advise drivers of the West Street closure.
Further footway and cycleway improvements adjacent to our main scheme on the A31 are planned."
Some of this is good news. But not all. What they failed to mention was that the closure of West Street has converted the Market Place and West Street into a cul de sac with a foreseen fall in footfall and the inevitable consequential damage to the businesses in the area.
Nor did they note that "the reversal of the one way in the Furlong" (aka. Meeting House Lane) is not only causing appalling traffic jams; it is also effectively deterring visitors to the town centre by forcing traffic from the A31 to drive round the east side of the town and to then turn up a narrow and uninviting stretch of Christchurch Road as the only way to reach the town centre. Was this discussed with those most affected? Was no objection raised before such damage was inflicted on the town?
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