THE long debated Dorchester Transport and Environment Plan (DTEP) faces more uncertainty after council officers suggested a revised scheme was unlikely to gain public support.
In February this year Dorset County Council’s cabinet gave officers seven months to come up with an alternative to the unpopular DTEP plan on the table at that stage and warned if no suitable proposal was put forward the whole scheme could be scrapped.
Local members are now going back to the drawing board and suggesting a new package of measures aimed at simply improving the flow of traffic through the town.
A report is now going before the cabinet today that outlines the work done by officers in conjunction with local councillors from the county council, district council and town council to come up with an alternative plan.
However, the report warns that even though a revised scheme has been proposed, indications suggest it is still unpopular with the local community and it would require further consultation before it is to proceed.
It states that a ‘show of hands’ at a drop-in session hosted by Dorchester Town Council suggested that only around one third of each group was in favour of the revised scheme.
The report says: “As a result of the response to the public opinion sampling undertaken, the member-led working group has concluded that although public opposition has reduced, the revised scheme is unlikely to have sufficient public support to be progressed.”
The alternative scheme, which was drawn from suggestions made during the public consultation last year as well as from citizens’ panels and work led by local councillors during the last six months, included introducing a one-way westbound flow on Great Western Road and keeping buses travelling westbound on High West Street between Trinity Street and Top o’Town, rather than up Princes Street as originally proposed.
Town, district and county councillor Trevor Jones – who is part of the eight member working group drawn from all three tiers of local government – said that what the group was now proposing instead was a set of measures aimed at moving traffic through the town as quickly as possible using the £5.855million budget that has been set aside for DTEP.
Cllr Jones said the proposals will include measures to smooth the flow of traffic such as traffic lights, junction improvements, possibly some loading bans at certain times of the day and perhaps reviewing some on street parking.