COUNCIL leaders are facing a backlash to their latest scheme to support walking and cycling in Bournemouth.

Hoteliers and opposition councillors have raised concerns about the move to block through motorised traffic on two clifftop roads.

From next Monday, a section on both Boscombe Overcliff Drive and Southbourne Overcliff Drive will be closed, except for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as vehicles accessing properties, businesses and parking spaces.

The scheme has been brought forward using funds from the government’s emergency active travel fund.

Boscombe East & Pokesdown ward member Andy Jones and BH Area Hospitality Association (BAHA) have voiced their opposition.

“I was inundated by residents over the weekend who are absolutely livid about this scheme,” said Cllr Jones.

“I’ve had people on the phone and numerous emails questioning where was the consultation.

“Why are we having something thrust upon us?

“The concerns have been raised about where traffic is going to be diverted up some of the residential roads north of the clifftop area and the resulting congestion along roads such as Beechwood Avenue, Wentworth Avenue and onto Southbourne Grove because clearly traffic has got to go somewhere.

“Bearing in mind how busy those roads are already and this is just going to make it worse.

“With most schemes you tend to find people for and against but I have not come across anybody that thinks this is a good idea.”

In a statement, BAHA, whose opposition led to a U-turn on blocking off East Overcliff Drive earlier this month, said smaller pub accommodation, B&Bs, guest houses and hotels on the clifftop roads need passing cars to help them recover.

“BCP Council [with] another crazy ridiculous scheme which also needs scrapping,” BAHA said.

“Tourism and hospitality bring much needed income into this town and these crazy thought up schemes are causing headaches for a number of hotel business owners across the conurbation who are trying to focus on keeping their business afloat during these times. Are you aware by closing this road you will also put a negative impact on people arriving for your Bournemouth Beach Lodges.”

The Daily Echo also received objecting voices from former Bournemouth Borough Council leader David Trenchard and former mayor Chris Mayne.

Boscombe East & Pokesdown ward councillor and member of the Unity Alliance administration George Farquhar said he had received a “fair amount of opposition” to the scheme through emails from residents.

However, he also said that this was not the intended way to gain feedback on the measures that were being brought forward.

“I am not opposed to the scheme itself because it is experimental and I think it will quite quickly show what is actually something we might want to invest in,” said Cllr Farquhar.

“We have these experimental orders. It is not just us in the country, it is all local authorities.

“Depending on the evidence that comes out of these experimental traffic control orders, such as the one on the overcliff at Southbourne and Boscombe, we can actually unlock £1.2million.

“I can understand the concerns by residents that it may be that traffic will start occupying local residential roads but I think that this is only a short-term pain because the nature of the scheme is to prevent through traffic and encourage active travel.”