A COUNCILLOR is urging residents to speak out before £500,000 of taxpayers’ money is spent on an ‘unnecessary’ roads overhaul in Weymouth.
Borough councillor Ian Bruce believes better signage is all that is needed on Preston Road and Dorset County Council should spend the money more wisely.
The cash is earmarked for traffic calming for cyclists and pedestrians as on Preston Road and on Dorchester Road as part of the relief road scheme.
Coun Bruce is meeting with county councillor Peter Finney today to ask why ‘the safest main road in Weymouth’ is the focus for traffic calming when other areas like Southill have campaigners calling for road safety measures.
He said: “We shouldn’t be using money on an unnecessary scheme, even if it’s national taxpayers’ money, particularly as the scheme is deliberately designed to make it more difficult for motorists to use the totally useable traffic system on Preston Road.
“I’ve asked for figures on how many accidents have occurred there as that would be what you’d have to show if you were trying to get this road safety scheme passed without ‘free government money’.
“We all know it’s not free. It’s our money being spent out of a different pot.”
Coun Bruce said the signs on Preston Road need improvement and that visitors still cannot understand how to get to Weymouth or the beach.
Coun Bruce urged residents to go online to look at the council’s plans for the area and have their say.
Dorset County Council said that the Preston Road part of the scheme would be limited to £250,000. The project aims to reduce the volume and speed of traffic on Preston Road and encourage traffic to use Littlemoor Road and the relief road. It also aims to improve walking and cycling facilities.
The proposals were included in the Weymouth Relief Road business case, and are being funded through the relief road scheme.
A council spokesman said that if the Preston Road scheme does not go ahead it cannot be guaranteed that the money will be spent in the Weymouth and Portland area, as the funds will either go back into the Dorset County Council central budget or back to the Department for Transport.
People can view the proposals and fill out an online a questionnaire at dorsetforyou.com/weymouthreliefroad
DOZENS of residents attended three public exhibitions on the Preston Road proposals.
The Dorset County Council scheme aims to improve life for pedestrians and cyclists and to slow traffic between Chalbury Corner roundabout and the Overcombe corner junction.
Project manager Mike Read said £500,000 was available ‘on this corridor’ as part of the Weymouth Relief Road package, which also had set aside funding for safety measures on Dorchester Road.
Mr Read said the money was ‘not transferable’.
The work, which will take 12 to 15 weeks to complete, is set to begin early next year following the outcome of public consultations.
Plans are available to view online at dorsetforyou.com/weymouthreliefroad with a questionnaire.