A CAMPAIGN for major improvements, including a reduced 50mph speed limit on the busy A31 at Ringwood, has stepped up a gear as crucial talks progress.

Following calls for urgent action on the busy road from residents members of Ringwood Town Council and New Forest District Council met with Highways Agency representatives before Christmas to discuss how to improve the safety record on the road.

Since the meeting, Highways Agency officers have been working on feasibility issues for many of the suggestions put forward by the councillors and plan to write to members next week, the Agency has confirmed.

A campaign for improvements on the dual carriageway between Picket Post and the Ashley Heath Interchange was launched by Ringwood Town Council last year and signed by 1,000 people.

Measures included cutting the speed limit from 70mph to 50mph, creating a crawler lane for eastbound lorries and installing signs advising drivers to get into the correct lane earlier.

Ringwood town and district councillor, Michael Thierry said: “There are a number of road improvements that they could undertake, but because it is such a major project that could take many, many years.

“However, there are one or two improvements which they could implement slightly earlier.

“The major one they could do almost instantly is the bringing in of a speed reduction to 50mph from Picket Post.

“There was a meeting before Christmas and they did come down and meet with the district and town councils and officers.

“I thought it was a very constructive meeting and one which I felt allowed all parties to bring something to the table in terms of being positive.

“I am always hopeful; we have been campaigning for the A31 for many years and nothing has changed as yet.

“My view is that I would like to see the 50mph brought in immediately.

“The people of Ringwood are making demands for it. It is not as if the town council and councillors are not supported by the town.

“I would like to see the speed reduction implemented and then a consultation taken place on what people have thought about it.”