Old folks upset at delay to Dorchester Road pedestrian crossing

Dorset Echo: CROSSING CAMPAIGNERS: Pat Staff (front) with, from left, Doreen Beckingham, Doreen Ablett, Moira Grogono, Pam Foster and Beryl Gill CROSSING CAMPAIGNERS: Pat Staff (front) with, from left, Doreen Beckingham, Doreen Ablett, Moira Grogono, Pam Foster and Beryl Gill

PENSIONERS are upset that a crossing on Weymouth’s busy Dorchester Road will be delayed.

Elderly residents have to dodge speeding traffic as they go about their everyday tasks, like catching the bus or going to the shops.

Pensioner Pat Staff, 76, who lives in Weymouth Bay Avenue, launched a campaign to get a crossing near the old police station.

After months of delay, the pensioners were celebrating the news that a new puffin crossing – a sensor-activated crossing with traffic lights – was due to be installed near the police station on June 22.

But their delight has turned to dismay they discovered that it is being delayed for another four months.

A county council spokesman said: “It was originally due to be installed in June but it went to consultation and there was an objection.

“We had to make changes in response to the objection.

“We have now had to go through a re-design and another safety audit and it is scheduled for construction in early October.”

Mrs Staff said: “I am livid. I think that is absolutely disgraceful.

“I have seen these old dears trying to cross the road and my heart is in my boots. When you get elderly like this you take a long time to cross.”

Her husband Peter described the traffic on Dorchester Road – one of the main routes in and out of Weymouth – as ‘frantic’.

He added: “Several blocks of flats there are specifically for retired people.

“If they are going to Dorchester, the bus stop is on the correct side, but if they are going into Weymouth they have got to cross the busy road.”

Mr and Mrs Staff said when the route was resurfaced last year, the cables were laid ready for the crossing.

“Then nothing happened for weeks and weeks,” said Mrs Staff.

“So I wrote a letter asking why haven’t we got the crossing.”

She later learned the crossing was due to be installed in April, by the end of the financial year, with funding ringfenced for that project. Mrs Staff added: “They can’t use it for anything else for goodness sake, so use it before someone gets injured or killed.

“It was bad enough that they didn’t do it by April 5, and now they are delaying it even more.”

Residents of Hardy’s Court retirement flats have also been awaiting the crossing.

Maggie Cannell, 77, said: “It has been rather a long time coming.

“It would not only be good for us, but for the children crossing as well.”

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