REDUCING the speed limit to 20mph in Poole town centre could have many benefits, according to a councillor.

Cllr Mark Howell, Poole People group leader who represents the ward, made his suggestion as a Borough of Poole economy committee considered public consultation on access and movement across the town.

“I believe that 20mph speed limits in residential areas would be supported by many residents of Poole,” he said.

“I also think there is merit in investigating whether reducing the speed limit in the town centre would improve the flow of traffic, increase the safety of pedestrians and cyclists and make the town centre more attractive to visitors.”

He said sometimes the council had to show leadership and make decisions, which could initially be unpopular, if it believed there would be benefits to residents in the longer term.

However this was attacked by Cllr Xena Dion, cabinet portfolio holder for the environment, transportation, and the local economy, who said Poole People had previously accused the council of not carrying out enough consultation on the gyratory road system feeding the two bridges.

“You cannot, as a councillor or anyone in a position of influence, go with or against the majority public opinion, or manipulate the consultation process, just because you don’t get the results that you want,” she said.

The consultation gave a clear indication that the majority of people, 93 per cent, agreed that the route from Holes Bay to the port needed to ensure that businesses could operate successfully, she said.

“A 20mph across our main routes is not conducive to a thriving economy, especially in accessing a busy port that brings millions of pounds each year to our local economy,” she added.