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Plans to change Dorchester traffic system blasted
PUBLIC consultation into controversial plans to change Dorchester’s traffic system has been blasted as ‘diabolical.’ Residents are calling for a public meeting over their concerns that the problems of congestion and pollution will just be ‘shifted’ to residential areas if the Dorchester Transport and Environment Plan, led by Dorset County Council, goes ahead.
They have written to town council chairman Trevor Jones airing their views.
The councillor, who also sits on West Dorset District Council, labelled the exhibition for DTEP, which took place last week, ‘a travesty’.
Speaking at West Dorset District full council he called for the consultation to be re-done because it was not adequate to inform the public.
He said: “It’s not a good public exhibition. It is one of the worst I have ever seen.
“There are no comment forms in sight. The information leaflets were tucked away in an unmanned exhibition behind the display board.
“It’s absolutely diabolical. This is the biggest proposed change in the flow of traffic in Dorchester for decades.
“The exhibition is a travesty.
“I am about to leave this meeting to go to County Hall to make my views known.”
He added: “This scheme has been going since 2003, so there has been plenty of time to sort this exhibition out.”
As part of the £4.9million scheme, High West Street and parts of High East Street will be made one way from November next year, with new traffic signals at the junction of Princes Street and Albert Road and some ‘banned’ turns at Great Western Junction.
Residents have listed a number of concerns – among them is increased pollution in residential areas, that different members of the public have been told contrasting information by officers and that the removal of car parking spaces will hinder trade.
Martin Graham, of Cornwall Road, said: “I know they have got to address it but it’s just pushing the problem off High West Street down in to heavily residential areas.
“The consultation is way below the 12 weeks that are needed. It all feels as though it’s being rushed through quickly.”
He added: “If you reconstruct the traffic plan as they are planning to, vehicles travel about three times the distance they did before.
“And without having the software the council has been using, if cars and HGVs travel three times the distance, although they might be travelling faster. They are going to produce more pollution.
“So not only do you move pollution down to a residential area, but you increase it. And I can’t find anybody who can show me that it would create less.”
Hundreds have attended exhibitions
Tim Norman, highways improvements chief engineer for Dorset County Council, said: “The materials that we are using for the exhibition have been produced in collaboration with members from Dorset County Council, West Dorset District Council and Dorset Town Council.
“Members from all three councils attended workshops in September and were happy for these to be used for the displays,” Mr Norman, pictured, said.
“The exhibitions have had extensive publicity in the local media including the Dorset Echo.
“We have already seen hundreds of people at the exhibitions. Out of a total of nine exhibitions, four have been staffed. We were in South Street for the whole day on Wednesday ensuring that people were aware of the plans and explaining how they could make comments.
“When the displays are unstaffed there are feedback forms that can be left in a box. We are replenishing leaflets, feedback forms and business cards on a daily basis to make sure local residents can get in touch with us and leave their views. Full details of the scheme can also be found online.
“Although the exhibitions finished on Friday there will be an unstaffed display in the County Hall main reception until November 11 and full details of the whole scheme, along with an online questionnaire, can also be found at www.dorsetforyou.com/dorchester-transport-plan
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