PLANS to install a cycle way in Christchurch costing nearly £246,000 have been described as “madness”.
Work to create a purpose built off-road foot and cycleway along the length of Somerford Road between Purewell and Somerford roundabouts have been proposed by Dorset County Council.
The £246,000 route is an initiative under the Department for Transport-funded Three Towns Corridor scheme – a £12.1million project to make it easier for people in Christchurch, Bourn-emouth and Poole to get around using bikes or by foot.
The cost of the Christchurch initiatives total £905,000.
The Somerford route is designed to follow the grass verge in front of the houses, which sit along the service road.
Chris Hopkins, chairman of the Somerford Community Partner-ship said: “It’s sheer madness. There has been no meaningful consultation with residents. How can they demonstrate this is needed?
“Roads around Somerford are littered with pot holes, these need sorting before anything else is done.”
She added: “For some years the community has been asking for more parking to be made available by the shops.
“But we have constantly been told this was impossible due to lack of funds and services laid under the green.
“Clearly this should be a priority and hopefully we will be able to meet in the near future with Dorset Highways to discuss our concerns.”
Grange ward councillor Denise Jones agreed it was a waste of money. She said she would rather see other facilities on the estate.
County councillor David Jones, who represents Grange ward, said: “There is absolutely no need to spend this amount of money – a quarter of a million pounds – constructing a cycle way on Somerford Road.
“I am completely opposed to this. In this economic climate I would be very, very careful about spending people’s money on a bike lane, which is not needed.
“If officers want to stop the road being used as a rat run, other measures would be much more effective – and cheaper.”
'We are happy to discuss residents' issues'
DORSET County Council management engineer Andrew Bradley said: “All the Christchurch elements of the project featured in an exhibition for borough councillors and the public held at Christchurch Civic Offices last summer, and the plans were also available to view at the library.
“We have also held meetings with local county councillors to discuss the proposals and listen to any concerns they have.
“The local residents association has recently been in contact and we will be happy to meet with its representatives to discuss any issues they have with the Somerford scheme.”
The plans for the cycleway route can be seen online at dorsetforyou.com/highway improvements.
OTHER Christchurch initiatives proposed under the scheme include:
• The introduction of traffic lights at the Stour Road/Bargates junction, £101,000;
• Upgrading traffic signals at Stony Lane, Purewell junction, £174,000;
• Link existing cycle lanes along Barrack Road, £153,000;
• Introduction of traffic lights either side of Stony Lane railway bridge, £141,000;
• A safe route from Burton village along Salisbury Road to The Grange School, £90,000.