MANY residents of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will be alarmed by the casual demise of the proposals for Wessex Fields by the council’s new political administration. Commuters and visitors to the wider area will have to bear the consequences of this change of policy for our roads infrastructure for a very long time to come.

It will remind many people of the decision all those years ago by a former Lib Dem Council to prevent the extension of the Wessex Way any further than the LV roundabout at Westbourne. Like Wessex Fields, the long-term consequences were completely ignored and without any meaningful or effective alternative strategy being put in its place to address the growing problem and economic cost of traffic congestion.

What we have all experienced ever since from the decision on the Wessex Way at Westbourne has added heavily to congestion between Bournemouth and Poole. That decision can never be reversed as the council proceeded to dispose of the ‘highway reservation’ land through Princess Road and beyond.

Castle Lane East, the Wessex Way and the Cooper Dean roundabout are not sustainable as they are and that is why the funding for phase one was granted by the Dorset LEP. The former Bournemouth Council was working hard with partners and government to fund phase two within an acceptable timescale. The Wessex Fields land was purchased from borrowings, alongside a plan to repay the money by working with the NHS to bring employment and economic benefits to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and businesses locally. The proposed ‘road to nowhere’ and the resultant delay effectively kills the scheme and thereby the longer-term relief of traffic congestion throughout the area.

With the opportunities presented to the new BCP Council, the strategy to relieve traffic congestion which we were previously working up should have been expanded and properly considered across an even wider area to include Christchurch and the extension of the Christchurch bypass. That would have been a sensible and appropriate strategic approach and it is only in that way, with the support of local MPs, that the government will ever make the funding available to our local area. Otherwise it will go elsewhere to places with real ambition.


Westbourne and West Cliff ward councillor, BCP Council