A LOOMING five-week main road closure in Studland could have “fatal consequences” according to a parish council which has urged Wessex Water to reconsider.

Studland Parish Council say upcoming closures of the B3351 Studland Road for water main works should be postponed until January to prevent the “double whammy” of having the key road and ferry shut at same time.

Wessex Water is replacing a degrading water main near Corfe Castle to enhance water quality and cope with increasing demand. The £500,000 project will see a new pipe relocated to fields adjacent to the B3351 to minimise impact on the community.

Work will commence on October 31 – which is also the first day without the Sandbanks Ferry being in operation ahead of five-week refit repairs.

Bournemouth Echo: Sandbanks Ferry service goes to refit on October 31, 2022Sandbanks Ferry service goes to refit on October 31, 2022 (Image: Newsquest)

This has drawn the ire of the Studland Parish Council which says it has proposed “on numerous occasions” that the two service disruptions do not happen in conjunction.

Nick Boulter, council chair, said: “[We] recognise the need for the road to be closed at some stage to allow the essential work to be conducted, but we have proposed on numerous occasions that this happens in early January – when the ferry is back in service.”

The council expressed concerns over impact on visitor numbers and, subsequently, local businesses.

According to the council, at least one business has been “forced to shut” for the duration of the works.

Bournemouth Echo:

Access for emergency services was also cited as a major concern.

Cllr Boulter added: “For some people having an illness, such as a stroke, [it] could be made fatal by the extra delays in responding.

“We request that Wessex Water ensures that the emergency services can reach Studland residents in a comparable time to now – otherwise there may be real suffering to residents, even potentially deaths.

“We are greatly disappointed by the Wessex Water decision and ask them to reconsider, and to move the road closure to January.”

However, following enquiries by the Echo, Wessex Water has said it has received no objections by the parish council.

Bournemouth Echo: Wessex Water continue works near Corfe CastleWessex Water continue works near Corfe Castle (Image: Newsquest)

A spokesperson said: “Following advice from Dorset Council, work has been timed to take place away from the busy summer holiday season and during a period in which the Sandbanks chain ferry is closed for maintenance so there’s less traffic passing through.

“We contacted parish councils in both Corfe Castle and Studland, as well as businesses and organisations directly affected, to advise them of the closure and no concerns were raised.

“We are happy to hear about any specific concerns and will look to see what we might be able to do to help.”

The scheme is expected to be completed by Friday, December 2, but Wessex Water said it would do everything it could to complete the work as quickly as possible.

A diversion will be in place when the road is closed.