DORSET Fire Service, councillors and a disability service have objected to the ‘dangerous’ plans to change the road layout in Boscombe which ‘could put lives at risk’.
Hailed as the ‘worst bit of traffic planning in Bournemouth for 50 years’ by Labour leader Cllr Ben Grower, the proposals include changes to Christchurch Road, Palmerston Road and the Crescent.
The consultation for the highways improvements which forms part of the Three Towns Travel programme also drew objections from Morebus and Bournemouth Transport Ltd.
DOTS Disability which provides services for disabled and elderly people has objected to the proposals to create a ‘shared space’ environment in Christchurch Road, at the western end of the precinct.
The planned changes involve altering the pavement, replacing the existing traffic signal-controlled crossing and reducing the traditional signs.
Jonathan Waddington-Jones, the Chief Executive of DOTS Disability, which is an arm of charity Access Dorset, said: “Visually impaired and disabled people will be ‘playing chicken’ with the traffic.
“It will be extremely dangerous as they will not know where the pavement begins and the road ends, so the lives of vulnerable people will be put at risk.”
Dorset Fire and Rescue Service objected to the proposed changes to the St John’s Road and Christchurch Road Junction.
District Commander Steve Underhill said: “We have a problem with the plans to raise the height of the kerb, as vehicles won’t be able to pull up onto them to get out of the way of emergency vehicles without damaging their cars.”
Boscombe resident Marine le Bais-Wright said: “The changes will be incredibly dangerous and it will put the lives of elderly people at serious risk.”
Ian Kalra, Head of Transportation Services at Bournemouth Council, said: “The consultation forms the first stage of the process and we wish to emphasise that at this point, none of the proposals have been finalised.
“We will be contacting DOTS Disability and other organisations to further discuss their concerns in more detail.”