RINGWOOD councillors are calling on the Highways Agency to re-classify the A31 as an urban road where it passes the town.

At a town council meeting last night they voted to write to the agency rejecting its claim that there is no reason to impose a 50mph speed limit between Picket Post and the Ashley Heath roundabout, and recommending the reclassification.

See our live coverage of last night's meeting

Should the road be designated as urban, Highways Agency guidelines would recommend the speed limit be reduced to 50mph.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Michael Thierry said: “There can hardly be 10 yards of the road in three miles which hasn’t seen an accident.

Ringwood residents need to use that road to go anywhere else, it is not just for people travelling long journeys.”

He said the Highways Agency’s response had been disappointing, comparing the situation to David and Goliath, adding: “Ringwood is full of little Davids.”

Cllr Jeremy Heron reminded the council of the collision which led to the death of 16-year-old Jade Clark on Sunday evening.

He then urged residents to support the council by writing to local MP Desmond Swayne.

The council also voted to request Hampshire County Council to carry out a review of signage along the same stretch of the road, and look into yellow box markings at the A338 Ringwood interchange.

They welcomed proposals from the Highways Agency for merge ahead signs and bridge signs, and called for the costs to be produced for town councillors to consider.

They also agreed to request a meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick Mc-Loughlin.

Chairman Steve Rippon Swaine said after the vote: “The council is not prepared to sit on the response we had back from Highways.

“We are hoping to get a response back by Monday.”

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Thierry said: “Having looked at the guidance the Highways officers refer to, we think there is more room for interpretation than they have allowed.

“There are grounds for this three-mile stretch of road to be considered urban.

“When you go down the A338 into Bournemouth it is 70mph, then it is 50mph when you get near the town. It should be the same here.

“As for the signs, we would have offered to install them ourselves if Highways hadn’t quoted such a high cost.

“They shouldn’t be that expensive.”