£1m to improve Ashley Road - but what should it be spent on?

Bournemouth Echo: Ashley Road, Parkstone Ashley Road, Parkstone

MORE than £1million could be spent on improving Parkstone’s mile-long high street over the next three years.

Residents and traders are to be asked for their input on how Poole council should spend the government grant for Ashley Road.

One suggestion is improving a crossing where a trader warns it is “only a matter of time” before someone is badly injured.

Poole, Bournemouth and Dorset councils recently won a £12m grant from the government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund for improving the A35 corridor through the conurbation.

Poole council wants to identify problems that need tackling on Ashley Road, including issues such as congestion, bus services, public spaces, parking and air quality.

The area around the Victoria Cross junction was revealed last year to have failed air quality tests.

Newtown councillor Brian Clements said he wanted as many people as possible to take part in a consultation.

“I think it’s really important we get input from as many people as possible and it needs to be people who live and work there, who know what the issues are,” he said.

Cllr Clements says the council should look again at the junction of Ashley Road, Richmond Road and Victoria Road in front of Waitrose.

Many pedestrians currently cross the junction diagonally – despite barriers designed to prevent them doing so – rather than wait for the lights at two crossings.

Cllr Clements said the council could consider allowing diagonal crossing and taking steps to make it safer.

“A little research reveals that such crossings are increasingly being introduced throughout the world where pedestrian demand is important and I personally think that this applies to Ashley Road,” he said in an email to officers.

“I would like to think that we will be able to incorporate improvements in the public realm that will help to revitalise Ashley Road,” he added.

Richard Wilson, treasurer of Ashley Road Traders Association, said traders would welcome improvements.

“We would like a consultation paper and possibly a questionnaire which could be distributed to traders in the area and some residents,” he said.

He said the projects could address the problem of parking, the width of some of the pavements and lack of flower and planters to make the area welcoming.

Mr Wilson, whose business Bookworm Books is on the junction with Richmond Road, said pedestrians frequently crossed against the lights, while drivers approaching from Churchill Road often ignored the ban on turning left into Ashley Road.

He said the idea of legalising diagonal crossing was worth considering. “We’ve had near misses a number of times,” he said.

“It’s only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt, unfortunately.”

* The Ashley Road improvements were due to be discussed this evening by Poole council’s Newtown and Parkstone area committee, 7pm, at the Evangelical Free Church Hall (next to Halfords), Ringwood Road.

HOW WORKS COULD PROCEED:

Timescale for improvements to Ashley Road
Draft proposals developed for consultation only – November 2012
Letters to traders and letters associations – December 2012
Public exhibitions manned by council officers – January 2013
Area committee considers proposals – January 9 2013
Final proposals presented to cabinet member for approval – March 14 2013.
First work begins – May/June 2013.

Comments (32)

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3:17pm Wed 7 Nov 12

Victor_Meldrew_Lives! says...

Massive waste of money.
Massive waste of money. Victor_Meldrew_Lives!

3:28pm Wed 7 Nov 12

nobbythesheep says...

One word 'Bulldozer'
One word 'Bulldozer' nobbythesheep

3:29pm Wed 7 Nov 12

Arthur Maureen says...

Glass half full comment from the man himself...

Th report mentions the crossing at the junction of Churchill / Ashley / Richmond Rds and the near misses - I live locally and frequently watch other moronic pedestrians cross when they should not (young and old) assuming that a couple of tons of metal will bounce off them.. until that kind of behaviour stops the corssing improvements will fail. Why dont we see some of the community officers patrol and stop people from doing this?
Cars turning right after a red light from ashley into richmond rd also need sorting out - happens after every change of the lights - the cops would make a fortune in fines and could pay for the much needed improvements to this area. The named trader is doing his best with an attractive shopfront but elsewhere all there is are charity shops galore - far too many! we needs to see good independent shops enticed to the area - there is great footfall on ashley rd and it could look like it did a number of years ago, but firstly move on the drunks and druggies from the area opposite Waitrose and yes, more plants / flowers etc. I am not alone in wanting my local area to look better - the above would be a start and would not costs £1m...
Glass half full comment from the man himself... Th report mentions the crossing at the junction of Churchill / Ashley / Richmond Rds and the near misses - I live locally and frequently watch other moronic pedestrians cross when they should not (young and old) assuming that a couple of tons of metal will bounce off them.. until that kind of behaviour stops the corssing improvements will fail. Why dont we see some of the community officers patrol and stop people from doing this? Cars turning right after a red light from ashley into richmond rd also need sorting out - happens after every change of the lights - the cops would make a fortune in fines and could pay for the much needed improvements to this area. The named trader is doing his best with an attractive shopfront but elsewhere all there is are charity shops galore - far too many! we needs to see good independent shops enticed to the area - there is great footfall on ashley rd and it could look like it did a number of years ago, but firstly move on the drunks and druggies from the area opposite Waitrose and yes, more plants / flowers etc. I am not alone in wanting my local area to look better - the above would be a start and would not costs £1m... Arthur Maureen

3:30pm Wed 7 Nov 12

Arthur Maureen says...

Glass half full comment from the man himself...

Th report mentions the crossing at the junction of Churchill / Ashley / Richmond Rds and the near misses - I live locally and frequently watch other moronic pedestrians cross when they should not (young and old) assuming that a couple of tons of metal will bounce off them.. until that kind of behaviour stops the corssing improvements will fail. Why dont we see some of the community officers patrol and stop people from doing this?
Cars turning right after a red light from ashley into richmond rd also need sorting out - happens after every change of the lights - the cops would make a fortune in fines and could pay for the much needed improvements to this area. The named trader is doing his best with an attractive shopfront but elsewhere all there is are charity shops galore - far too many! we needs to see good independent shops enticed to the area - there is great footfall on ashley rd and it could look like it did a number of years ago, but firstly move on the drunks and druggies from the area opposite Waitrose and yes, more plants / flowers etc. I am not alone in wanting my local area to look better - the above would be a start and would not costs £1m...
Glass half full comment from the man himself... Th report mentions the crossing at the junction of Churchill / Ashley / Richmond Rds and the near misses - I live locally and frequently watch other moronic pedestrians cross when they should not (young and old) assuming that a couple of tons of metal will bounce off them.. until that kind of behaviour stops the corssing improvements will fail. Why dont we see some of the community officers patrol and stop people from doing this? Cars turning right after a red light from ashley into richmond rd also need sorting out - happens after every change of the lights - the cops would make a fortune in fines and could pay for the much needed improvements to this area. The named trader is doing his best with an attractive shopfront but elsewhere all there is are charity shops galore - far too many! we needs to see good independent shops enticed to the area - there is great footfall on ashley rd and it could look like it did a number of years ago, but firstly move on the drunks and druggies from the area opposite Waitrose and yes, more plants / flowers etc. I am not alone in wanting my local area to look better - the above would be a start and would not costs £1m... Arthur Maureen

3:30pm Wed 7 Nov 12

rusty james says...

Maybe the money would be best spent flying the councillors first class all over the world to see other high streets and get ideas.
Maybe the money would be best spent flying the councillors first class all over the world to see other high streets and get ideas. rusty james

3:36pm Wed 7 Nov 12

Arthur Maureen says...

Glass half full comment from the man himself...

Th report mentions the crossing at the junction of Churchill / Ashley / Richmond Rds and the near misses - I live locally and frequently watch other moronic pedestrians cross when they should not (young and old) assuming that a couple of tons of metal will bounce off them.. until that kind of behaviour stops the corssing improvements will fail. Why dont we see some of the community officers patrol and stop people from doing this?
Cars turning right after a red light from ashley into richmond rd also need sorting out - happens after every change of the lights - the cops would make a fortune in fines and could pay for the much needed improvements to this area. The named trader is doing his best with an attractive shopfront but elsewhere all there is are charity shops galore - far too many! we needs to see good independent shops enticed to the area - there is great footfall on ashley rd and it could look like it did a number of years ago, but firstly move on the drunks and druggies from the area opposite Waitrose and yes, more plants / flowers etc. I am not alone in wanting my local area to look better - the above would be a start and would not costs £1m...
Glass half full comment from the man himself... Th report mentions the crossing at the junction of Churchill / Ashley / Richmond Rds and the near misses - I live locally and frequently watch other moronic pedestrians cross when they should not (young and old) assuming that a couple of tons of metal will bounce off them.. until that kind of behaviour stops the corssing improvements will fail. Why dont we see some of the community officers patrol and stop people from doing this? Cars turning right after a red light from ashley into richmond rd also need sorting out - happens after every change of the lights - the cops would make a fortune in fines and could pay for the much needed improvements to this area. The named trader is doing his best with an attractive shopfront but elsewhere all there is are charity shops galore - far too many! we needs to see good independent shops enticed to the area - there is great footfall on ashley rd and it could look like it did a number of years ago, but firstly move on the drunks and druggies from the area opposite Waitrose and yes, more plants / flowers etc. I am not alone in wanting my local area to look better - the above would be a start and would not costs £1m... Arthur Maureen

3:39pm Wed 7 Nov 12

Arthur Maureen says...

slooooooow echo webpage...
slooooooow echo webpage... Arthur Maureen

3:41pm Wed 7 Nov 12

BourneRed says...

"Poole council wants to identify problems that need tackling on Ashley Road, including issues such as congestion, bus services, public spaces, parking and air quality."

If you can list the issues that need tackling then have you not already identified them?
"Poole council wants to identify problems that need tackling on Ashley Road, including issues such as congestion, bus services, public spaces, parking and air quality." If you can list the issues that need tackling then have you not already identified them? BourneRed

3:48pm Wed 7 Nov 12

John T says...

'Cllr Clements said the council should look again at the junction of Ashley Road, Richmond Road and Victoria Road.'
Either Cllr Clements or the Echo have got their lines crossed, as the junction is with Churchill Road, not Victoria Road.
In addition to considering a diagonal pedestrian Xing here, the phasing of the traffic lights at this junction also needs reviewing, particularly for northbound traffic from Richmond Road which is regularly stacked up blocking the exit from Waitrose's car park.
'Cllr Clements said the council should look again at the junction of Ashley Road, Richmond Road and Victoria Road.' Either Cllr Clements or the Echo have got their lines crossed, as the junction is with Churchill Road, not Victoria Road. In addition to considering a diagonal pedestrian Xing here, the phasing of the traffic lights at this junction also needs reviewing, particularly for northbound traffic from Richmond Road which is regularly stacked up blocking the exit from Waitrose's car park. John T

4:51pm Wed 7 Nov 12

Dorset Logic says...

How long before the council install a bridge that has twin sails in the high street?
How long before the council install a bridge that has twin sails in the high street? Dorset Logic

5:04pm Wed 7 Nov 12

A Lofty says...

It will be interesting to see if any new money is forthcoming for Poole High Street. This place reflects the true state of the British economy, and then some..... If it ain't a charity shop or a Subway, it ain't there!

As for the Ashley Road conundram. Nobbythesheep suggests 'bulldozer'. Whilst I have every sympathy for his viewpoint, demolition is not a cheap option, so I fear that this mile-long stretch of retail heaven may have to remain.
It will be interesting to see if any new money is forthcoming for Poole High Street. This place reflects the true state of the British economy, and then some..... If it ain't a charity shop or a Subway, it ain't there! As for the Ashley Road conundram. Nobbythesheep suggests 'bulldozer'. Whilst I have every sympathy for his viewpoint, demolition is not a cheap option, so I fear that this mile-long stretch of retail heaven may have to remain. A Lofty

5:23pm Wed 7 Nov 12

yesitsmeagain says...

a monorail is what we need
a monorail is what we need yesitsmeagain

5:26pm Wed 7 Nov 12

pete woodley says...

There are many who would like to see the Parkstone shopping area revitalised,but spending a million on it is taking the "P".It seems to have got worse since Woolworths went,and the church front ,altered,which as said has attracted the roughs,and big issues sellers outside the CO-OP,dont help,Parkstone is getting like Winton with its charity shops.More parking would help,but that comes at a cost,but still not anywhere like a million pounds. From Waitrose up to Uppelby rd, a lot of the shops look very tatty.
There are many who would like to see the Parkstone shopping area revitalised,but spending a million on it is taking the "P".It seems to have got worse since Woolworths went,and the church front ,altered,which as said has attracted the roughs,and big issues sellers outside the CO-OP,dont help,Parkstone is getting like Winton with its charity shops.More parking would help,but that comes at a cost,but still not anywhere like a million pounds. From Waitrose up to Uppelby rd, a lot of the shops look very tatty. pete woodley

5:26pm Wed 7 Nov 12

pete woodley says...

There are many who would like to see the Parkstone shopping area revitalised,but spending a million on it is taking the "P".It seems to have got worse since Woolworths went,and the church front ,altered,which as said has attracted the roughs,and big issues sellers outside the CO-OP,dont help,Parkstone is getting like Winton with its charity shops.More parking would help,but that comes at a cost,but still not anywhere like a million pounds. From Waitrose up to Uppelby rd, a lot of the shops look very tatty.
There are many who would like to see the Parkstone shopping area revitalised,but spending a million on it is taking the "P".It seems to have got worse since Woolworths went,and the church front ,altered,which as said has attracted the roughs,and big issues sellers outside the CO-OP,dont help,Parkstone is getting like Winton with its charity shops.More parking would help,but that comes at a cost,but still not anywhere like a million pounds. From Waitrose up to Uppelby rd, a lot of the shops look very tatty. pete woodley

5:38pm Wed 7 Nov 12

Arthur Maureen says...

yesitsmeagain wrote:
a monorail is what we need
Now thats a great idea... monorail,monorail,mo
norail!
Quick before Mark muppet Smith from BBC nicks our idea..
[quote][p][bold]yesitsmeagain[/bold] wrote: a monorail is what we need[/p][/quote]Now thats a great idea... monorail,monorail,mo norail! Quick before Mark muppet Smith from BBC nicks our idea.. Arthur Maureen

6:19pm Wed 7 Nov 12

A Lofty says...

Mmmm...monorail eh? Would the aim be to assist pedestrians who do not wish to take place in Britain's number one olympic sport - the dog**** slalom? I'd have thought that the council tax payers of the area had enjoyed enough 21st Century engineering for a while. I'm thinking bridges, surf reefs ......
Mmmm...monorail eh? Would the aim be to assist pedestrians who do not wish to take place in Britain's number one olympic sport - the dog**** slalom? I'd have thought that the council tax payers of the area had enjoyed enough 21st Century engineering for a while. I'm thinking bridges, surf reefs ...... A Lofty

8:01pm Wed 7 Nov 12

A Lofty says...

Woops. I meant 'take part' not 'take place'.
Woops. I meant 'take part' not 'take place'. A Lofty

10:01pm Wed 7 Nov 12

Peggy Babcock says...

What's the problem with the crossing? The cycle of the lights mean at one stage ALL traffic is stopped and pedestrians cross so it makes logical sense to go diaganol. This therefore also makes sense to allow traffic to turn left out of Churchill road - again no danger

As for the investment - it his to be a good thing and the moaners are cutting off their nose to spite their face.
What's the problem with the crossing? The cycle of the lights mean at one stage ALL traffic is stopped and pedestrians cross so it makes logical sense to go diaganol. This therefore also makes sense to allow traffic to turn left out of Churchill road - again no danger As for the investment - it his to be a good thing and the moaners are cutting off their nose to spite their face. Peggy Babcock

1:48am Thu 8 Nov 12

chocolatelover26 says...

I think that with the amount of stores that have been closing down, or not doing so well, particularly between Waitrose and Sea View, that we should provide more services of some sort that would advantageous to everyone.

A community centre would be great. Now I know this seems very old fashioned but it COULD work. I'm currently at university, but when I'm back at home in Poole, it really saddens me that there seems to be nothing there for the teenagers anymore accept for hanging around the Dolphin Centre on a Saturday afternoon when they could be doing much better things with their time. I think a community club should be set up, similar to the style of 1990s CBBC series Byker Grove. It will keep youngsters busy, give them new friends and could teach them skills and give them interests that would have a positive impact upon their lives.

It also seems to me that another good idea would be to have a community centre where lots of societies could get together. These days, nationwide, since coming to university its opened my eyes to how unhealthy society is becoming, and how we need to integrate more with people of different ages, views etc. A community centre offering many societies could help to acheive this.I mean, loads of people of all ages are interested in Chess aren't they? Or what about a book club? Even what party you support. Now I understand that people here might have their reservations about what I am suggesting, but I believe these sorts of societies could bring back the community spirit of Ashley Road. The community spirit I enjoyed when I was growing up. It just saddens me, that if this development is not put to anything that is good for the whole community, future generations may not be able to enjoy or understand the Branksome that I grew up in.
I think that with the amount of stores that have been closing down, or not doing so well, particularly between Waitrose and Sea View, that we should provide more services of some sort that would advantageous to everyone. A community centre would be great. Now I know this seems very old fashioned but it COULD work. I'm currently at university, but when I'm back at home in Poole, it really saddens me that there seems to be nothing there for the teenagers anymore accept for hanging around the Dolphin Centre on a Saturday afternoon when they could be doing much better things with their time. I think a community club should be set up, similar to the style of 1990s CBBC series Byker Grove. It will keep youngsters busy, give them new friends and could teach them skills and give them interests that would have a positive impact upon their lives. It also seems to me that another good idea would be to have a community centre where lots of societies could get together. These days, nationwide, since coming to university its opened my eyes to how unhealthy society is becoming, and how we need to integrate more with people of different ages, views etc. A community centre offering many societies could help to acheive this.I mean, loads of people of all ages are interested in Chess aren't they? Or what about a book club? Even what party you support. Now I understand that people here might have their reservations about what I am suggesting, but I believe these sorts of societies could bring back the community spirit of Ashley Road. The community spirit I enjoyed when I was growing up. It just saddens me, that if this development is not put to anything that is good for the whole community, future generations may not be able to enjoy or understand the Branksome that I grew up in. chocolatelover26

2:08am Thu 8 Nov 12

Echoman007 says...

Here's an idea for the council.

Why not avoid what is in my opinion a total waste of money and give the money back to the cash strapped council tax payers who's money it really is in the first place?

But then what motive does the council have for that? None I guess.
Here's an idea for the council. Why not avoid what is in my opinion a total waste of money and give the money back to the cash strapped council tax payers who's money it really is in the first place? But then what motive does the council have for that? None I guess. Echoman007

5:27am Thu 8 Nov 12

Time_Traveller says...

The road itself could do with resurfacing too! It is a nightmare going along that road - it's one bump and pothole after another for almost the entire length.

A few more on-street parking bays would also be helpful - particularly if they included one or two down each side road instead of covering everywhere in yellow lines to stop people parking to shop.

Getting the drunks to move away from the benches in front of the Church would also be a start. I thought the benches were there for weary shoppers to take a rest or wait for the bus - not for drunks to sleep on!!
The road itself could do with resurfacing too! It is a nightmare going along that road - it's one bump and pothole after another for almost the entire length. A few more on-street parking bays would also be helpful - particularly if they included one or two down each side road instead of covering everywhere in yellow lines to stop people parking to shop. Getting the drunks to move away from the benches in front of the Church would also be a start. I thought the benches were there for weary shoppers to take a rest or wait for the bus - not for drunks to sleep on!! Time_Traveller

8:13am Thu 8 Nov 12

dswilliams says...

New prams for the 'Parkstone Single Mums'......for the 'Giro' walk......!!!
New prams for the 'Parkstone Single Mums'......for the 'Giro' walk......!!! dswilliams

8:30am Thu 8 Nov 12

ashleycross says...

If you stagger around Castlepoint or the Dolphin Centre drunk and smelly security moves you out because you are putting people off shopping there. So you go to Ashley Road. Street wardens with electronic tagging to stop them sciving off hanging around their offices would be a start.
If you stagger around Castlepoint or the Dolphin Centre drunk and smelly security moves you out because you are putting people off shopping there. So you go to Ashley Road. Street wardens with electronic tagging to stop them sciving off hanging around their offices would be a start. ashleycross

1:14pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Dorset Logic says...

have they considered turning every shop into a Tesco store? each one could sell something different, like beans in one shop, perhaps milk in another and then have another dedicated to pot noodle.

It needs more Tesco's and then they can get backhanders and get siemens to change the lights every 3 months.
have they considered turning every shop into a Tesco store? each one could sell something different, like beans in one shop, perhaps milk in another and then have another dedicated to pot noodle. It needs more Tesco's and then they can get backhanders and get siemens to change the lights every 3 months. Dorset Logic

2:07pm Thu 8 Nov 12

PooleParky says...

"Poole council wants to identify problems that need tackling on Ashley Road, including issues such as congestion, bus services"

Yes yes Poole council please come up with an idea to help cut down congestion in the mornings on Ashley Rd. I take the bus every morning and some days I've waited 25 mins in a virtual standstill waiting to get on to the 1st Branksome roundabout! :(
"Poole council wants to identify problems that need tackling on Ashley Road, including issues such as congestion, bus services" Yes yes Poole council please come up with an idea to help cut down congestion in the mornings on Ashley Rd. I take the bus every morning and some days I've waited 25 mins in a virtual standstill waiting to get on to the 1st Branksome roundabout! :( PooleParky

3:13pm Thu 8 Nov 12

Rednax says...

They say you can't polish-a-turd but by golly Poole Council will try.
I say bulldoze the lot bar Pendiks. Fantastic kebabs.
They say you can't polish-a-turd but by golly Poole Council will try. I say bulldoze the lot bar Pendiks. Fantastic kebabs. Rednax

3:38pm Thu 8 Nov 12

madras says...

Make the traffic one-way and use one side of the road for parking?
Make the traffic one-way and use one side of the road for parking? madras

9:26pm Thu 8 Nov 12

paul.p says...

Have a look at walkonomics.com
Have a look at walkonomics.com paul.p

10:31am Tue 13 Nov 12

shelfstacker says...

As someone that spends a lot of his time on the Ashley Road I'd like to raise the following points in response to this article and to some of the comments generated by it:

1. Proposing to spend £1m in an attempt to improve Ashley Road is the equivalent of setting a budget of £10 to renovate your house. If the local powers that be were at all serious about revitalising the area they would do their jobs and lobby for a realistic amount of money to do the job, not just accept a token hand out which I can guarantee will be misspent and wasted on pie-in-the-sky proposals and pointless initiatives.

Of course, they aren't in the least bit interested in a serious revitalisation program - I'm sure they are far too busy cashing the back-hander's they receive from the multi-nationals into their offshore bank accounts, and slapping each other on the backs for doing such a jolly good job of everything.

They have let the area fall into an absolute mess, and now think that by passing a few questionnaires around for the locals to fill in, like they were passing colouring-in sheets out to four year olds to keep them quiet, and by throwing a measly £1m at the problem they can hold their hands up and say they tried their best.

Almost the entire length of the road consists of charity shops, hairdressers/tanning salons, takeaways and estate agents. Where is the retail diversity? Why on earth would anyone passing by want to stop and look around?

Every five yards you come across a drunk/junkie/chav spewing foul language whilst dragging their equally horrible kid/staffie along behind them .There are also an abundance of mentally disturbed people in the area, who spend their days wandering up and down the road stinking of smoke/body odour/booze, and wasting the shop keepers time whilst putting off potential shoppers.

The majority of those shops which don't fall into the categories I've mentioned above look run down and shabby, and offer very little in terms of service or products to draw shoppers to the area. There are a few exceptions, businesses that actually understand that to draw people in you need to spend some effort making an impressive shop window and offering things the customers actually wants, but I fear they won't last too long in an area where a business can never realistically grow or thrive. Why would anyone want to waste their time and money trying to make a go of it in such a horrible run down area when there are much nicer, better maintained and thriving areas less than 20 minutes drive away? No doubt their premises, once vacated, will be filled by more charity shops, hair salons and estate agents. And so the vicious circle continues.

2. So lets look at what suggestions have been put on the table for starters. One suggestion is for the crossing outside Waitrose to be altered so that lazy morons who can't be bothered to wait for a red light can stagger across the crossing diagonally without the risk of being mown down by the fleets of boy racers who endlessly drag race up and down the road all day/night long with their bass cannons thumping away. This suggestion is backed up my Mr Wilson, proprietor of BookWorm Books, who obviously feels that the money would be well spent in this area.

I would ask though, why not spend the money on 'Lighting Up Ashley Road' this Christmas Mr Wilson, which I believe is the Ashley Road Traders Associations latest harebrained scheme, of which you are now Chairman. But no, instead the local traders are being asked to foot the bill for supplying trees, fixing them to the side of their premises and lighting them during the Christmas period. Am I the only one who thinks this a little bit off? Why should traders, many of whom are struggling to pay the bills, be asked to fork out money to put up Christmas light up when there is £1m sat in a bucket in some council office waiting to be spent?

Improving parking is the other suggestion, and I fully back this suggestion. Subsidise the car park charges and you will in turn see more people stop to shop on the road, even with it's lousy selection of shops. Subsidise parking and those people will also be able to spend longer shopping, resulting in multiple purchases and greater exploration of the road.

As it stands parking is so difficult that those who do stop are only doing so to rush to shop to grab something and get back before one of the legions of Parking Wardens who regularly stroll up and down the road slaps a ticket on their window. Make Ashley Road easier to stop on by subsiding the car parks will give shoppers a reason to stay longer on the road which will equate to a rise in revenue for the traders.

3. And lastly I come to those informed comments made about the article by the general public. "Bulldoze the area" suggests one genius. "Turn every shop into a Tesco" suggests another. Well all I can say is that you're providing a really great argument for not asking for the public's opinion on this matter if that is the best you can come up with.

So in closing, I suggest that if the council are serious about restoring the area to a thriving shopping hub they pull thier fingers out and actually look at spending some proper money sprucing the road up, whilst at the same time doing something constructive about introducing more retailing variety and removing the offputting tramps and drunks. Subsidising the parking will also benefit, but at the moment what is the point in having cheaper/longer parking when there is very little to bring people here in the first place?
As someone that spends a lot of his time on the Ashley Road I'd like to raise the following points in response to this article and to some of the comments generated by it: 1. Proposing to spend £1m in an attempt to improve Ashley Road is the equivalent of setting a budget of £10 to renovate your house. If the local powers that be were at all serious about revitalising the area they would do their jobs and lobby for a realistic amount of money to do the job, not just accept a token hand out which I can guarantee will be misspent and wasted on pie-in-the-sky proposals and pointless initiatives. Of course, they aren't in the least bit interested in a serious revitalisation program - I'm sure they are far too busy cashing the back-hander's they receive from the multi-nationals into their offshore bank accounts, and slapping each other on the backs for doing such a jolly good job of everything. They have let the area fall into an absolute mess, and now think that by passing a few questionnaires around for the locals to fill in, like they were passing colouring-in sheets out to four year olds to keep them quiet, and by throwing a measly £1m at the problem they can hold their hands up and say they tried their best. Almost the entire length of the road consists of charity shops, hairdressers/tanning salons, takeaways and estate agents. Where is the retail diversity? Why on earth would anyone passing by want to stop and look around? Every five yards you come across a drunk/junkie/chav spewing foul language whilst dragging their equally horrible kid/staffie along behind them .There are also an abundance of mentally disturbed people in the area, who spend their days wandering up and down the road stinking of smoke/body odour/booze, and wasting the shop keepers time whilst putting off potential shoppers. The majority of those shops which don't fall into the categories I've mentioned above look run down and shabby, and offer very little in terms of service or products to draw shoppers to the area. There are a few exceptions, businesses that actually understand that to draw people in you need to spend some effort making an impressive shop window and offering things the customers actually wants, but I fear they won't last too long in an area where a business can never realistically grow or thrive. Why would anyone want to waste their time and money trying to make a go of it in such a horrible run down area when there are much nicer, better maintained and thriving areas less than 20 minutes drive away? No doubt their premises, once vacated, will be filled by more charity shops, hair salons and estate agents. And so the vicious circle continues. 2. So lets look at what suggestions have been put on the table for starters. One suggestion is for the crossing outside Waitrose to be altered so that lazy morons who can't be bothered to wait for a red light can stagger across the crossing diagonally without the risk of being mown down by the fleets of boy racers who endlessly drag race up and down the road all day/night long with their bass cannons thumping away. This suggestion is backed up my Mr Wilson, proprietor of BookWorm Books, who obviously feels that the money would be well spent in this area. I would ask though, why not spend the money on 'Lighting Up Ashley Road' this Christmas Mr Wilson, which I believe is the Ashley Road Traders Associations latest harebrained scheme, of which you are now Chairman. But no, instead the local traders are being asked to foot the bill for supplying trees, fixing them to the side of their premises and lighting them during the Christmas period. Am I the only one who thinks this a little bit off? Why should traders, many of whom are struggling to pay the bills, be asked to fork out money to put up Christmas light up when there is £1m sat in a bucket in some council office waiting to be spent? Improving parking is the other suggestion, and I fully back this suggestion. Subsidise the car park charges and you will in turn see more people stop to shop on the road, even with it's lousy selection of shops. Subsidise parking and those people will also be able to spend longer shopping, resulting in multiple purchases and greater exploration of the road. As it stands parking is so difficult that those who do stop are only doing so to rush to shop to grab something and get back before one of the legions of Parking Wardens who regularly stroll up and down the road slaps a ticket on their window. Make Ashley Road easier to stop on by subsiding the car parks will give shoppers a reason to stay longer on the road which will equate to a rise in revenue for the traders. 3. And lastly I come to those informed comments made about the article by the general public. "Bulldoze the area" suggests one genius. "Turn every shop into a Tesco" suggests another. Well all I can say is that you're providing a really great argument for not asking for the public's opinion on this matter if that is the best you can come up with. So in closing, I suggest that if the council are serious about restoring the area to a thriving shopping hub they pull thier fingers out and actually look at spending some proper money sprucing the road up, whilst at the same time doing something constructive about introducing more retailing variety and removing the offputting tramps and drunks. Subsidising the parking will also benefit, but at the moment what is the point in having cheaper/longer parking when there is very little to bring people here in the first place? shelfstacker

2:45pm Tue 13 Nov 12

pete woodley says...

Good letter shelfstacker,having been bred and brought up in Branksome and had a shop there,as did my father,i have known the area over 70 years.I agree with your comments re state of shops look at Millers old place,a disgrace.
Good letter shelfstacker,having been bred and brought up in Branksome and had a shop there,as did my father,i have known the area over 70 years.I agree with your comments re state of shops look at Millers old place,a disgrace. pete woodley

5:37pm Thu 15 Nov 12

sw1983 says...

I live on Ashley Road, with reference to the diagonal crossing - when you press the button the traffic lights stop every road, so unless some one runs a red light your not going to get run over !! - dont waste money on more crossing's
just bring back our christmas lights,
westbourne and ashley cross have them and so did we up untill a few years ago !!
and also get rid of all the charity shops - and the Town Cryer who we can hear through are double glazing every other week who wakes us up on a saturday morning when we just want a lay in after a hard week at work !!!
I live on Ashley Road, with reference to the diagonal crossing - when you press the button the traffic lights stop every road, so unless some one runs a red light your not going to get run over !! - dont waste money on more crossing's just bring back our christmas lights, westbourne and ashley cross have them and so did we up untill a few years ago !! and also get rid of all the charity shops - and the Town Cryer who we can hear through are double glazing every other week who wakes us up on a saturday morning when we just want a lay in after a hard week at work !!! sw1983

5:39pm Thu 15 Nov 12

sw1983 says...

I live on Ashley Road, with reference to the diagonal crossing - when you press the button the traffic lights stop every road, so unless some one runs a red light your not going to get run over !! - dont waste money on more crossing's
just bring back our christmas lights,
westbourne and ashley cross have them and so did we up untill a few years ago !!
and also get rid of all the charity shops - and the Town Cryer who we can hear through our double glazing every other week who wakes us up on a saturday morning when we just want a lay in after a hard week at work !!!
I live on Ashley Road, with reference to the diagonal crossing - when you press the button the traffic lights stop every road, so unless some one runs a red light your not going to get run over !! - dont waste money on more crossing's just bring back our christmas lights, westbourne and ashley cross have them and so did we up untill a few years ago !! and also get rid of all the charity shops - and the Town Cryer who we can hear through our double glazing every other week who wakes us up on a saturday morning when we just want a lay in after a hard week at work !!! sw1983

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