THE clock is ticking for highways bosses to allocate £380,000 of funding on infrastructure improvements in Ringwood.

Hampshire County Council had a successful bid for the allocation from the Highways England Cycling, Safety and Integration fund.

However, officers must spend the money by the end of March next year.

Nine projects which meet the strict stipulations set by Highways England to improve accessibility throughout the town are being finalised.

It is expected that they will take place across Ringwood from east to west, culminating in work on West Street to tie in with Highways England’s scheme to widen the westbound carriageway on the A31.

One of the projects Hampshire is looking into involves reversing the direction of travel in Meeting House Lane between Furlong and Market Place.

Town, district and county councillor Michael Thierry said he had doubts about this element of the proposed works but backed the overall funding.

“It is welcome investment by Highways England but it is separate to the A31 work that is planned,” said Cllr Thierry.

“The county do not have a lot of time to finalise the details.

“There are nine smaller projects which will be undertaken. We need to wait until we have the full plans but they need to get a move on. The plan for Meeting House Lane is the most contentious part of it.”

More information has also been received on the A31 project.

Highways England is currently planning a full closure of West Street access to the trunk road, despite calls for a barrier which would allow emergency access.

The current programme of work for the scheme is 78 weeks. An expected start is penned in for March 2021, with a contraflow system required for around 26 to 30 weeks of the project.

Overnight closures will be needed at times with an official diversion route to the north via Salisbury. The Esso service station would be closed during the construction period.

Highways England are working towards the end of the preliminary design stage for the scheme.