A “damning” report has criticised a controversial £1million road scheme to feed Poole’s two bridges for providing a “poor” environment for walkers and cyclists.
The town centre gyratory system was condemned by residents who feared its effects on their daily lives, and now an independent report has mirrored their concerns.
“It says everything we said,” said Bill Constance, chairman of Poole Old Town Conservation Group.
“It says it’s the wrong thing. It’s outdated, it’s only good for cars but it’s no good for people, for pedestrians, the people that live around it and cyclists.
“They dusted off a 12-year-old design and pushed it through without consultation,” he said.
“It’s damning on the decision that was made to go ahead. It basically says it was the wrong decision.”
The £30,000 review of the Marston Road and Bay Hog Lane gyratory scheme, by an independent expert witness criticises Borough of Poole for a number of critical failings.
Among these was the lack of pedestrian crossings at light controlled junctions. After the report was under way, pedestrian John Fletcher, 77, was seriously injured crossing the road in West Street on October 27, at the four-way junction near the Queen Mary pub.
Planning and regeneration and transportation failed to work together properly, they relied on out of date traffic figures and there was poor initial public consultation on the road system.
The report by transport planning consultant Phil Jones, with Andy Ward of New Masterplanning, makes a number of recommendations and called for an urgent review of the scheme to identify measures to improve the layout.
Many residents and interested parties were consulted who had raised concerns about the dangers to pedestrian and cyclists before the scheme opened last December.
“There were opportunities along the way to revisit the scheme, that weren’t taken,” said Mr Jones.
“There’s a need to review the scheme in the short term and see what can be done to improve it.”
Short-term recommendations include urgent funding to improve conditions for walkers and cyclists with formal crossings and a detailed review of the junctions at either end of Marston Road and West Street/Bay Hog Lane.
Longer term measures include the crucial Hunger Hill junction, which could become a public square on one side.
The review was a condition of the gyratory scheme going ahead, which with a new road, one way traffic and the reversal of direction on one road, was felt to have been rushed through before the Twin Sails bridge opened.
A public process meeting will be held at the Civic Centre on November 13 at 9.30am ahead of the all-day select committee-style review hearing on November 21 at 9.30am “The final judgement will be for the public and the select committee,” said Cllr Brian Clements, chairman of the economy overview and scrutiny committee.
“I personally think it’s a flying start to improving things.”