A31 widening scheme consultation is pushed back
A public consultation for the proposed A31 widening scheme has been delayed until after the General Election.
Highways England were due to be hosting the two-day event to discuss options for widening the westbound dual carriageway to three lanes on June 9-10.
But it has since been confirmed that the earliest the consultation will be held is June 30-July 1 – after the next Government has been announced – due to the pre-election period Purdah.
The delay was discussed by Ringwood Town Councillors at their planning, town and environment committee meeting on Friday (MAY 5).
Deputy town clerk Jo Hurd told the meeting that, in addition to the A31 scheme, Highways England could also be working on a number of ongoing footpaths and roads in the town as part of the Ringwood Town Access Plan.
The Plan is a strategy which sets out a shared vision to improve facilities and services within the town drafted by Hampshire County Council and New Forest District Council in close cooperation with Ringwood Town Council and the community.
The town council will now discuss which schemes it would like to see addressed as a priority.
They include extending the footpath at Bickerley; widening the footway at Southampton Road, improving accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists from Gravel Lane to Furlong car park and Southampton Road; improving links between the car park and town centre from Furlong car park to Market Place; introducing possible one-way traffic eastbound to prevent rat-running at Cloughs Road; improving facilities for pedestrians to encourage footfall at High Street and West Street; and to carry out landscaping and streetscape works at High Street and Market Place.
It is not yet clear how much money Highways England would have to spend to carry out any of these works.
Councillor Tim Ward asked the meeting to discuss the list at a later stage.
“This list and what we decide is so important,” he said. “To try and decide now which of these measures could be implemented – I think the discussion will take longer than we have got. It is very important that we get our priorities right and we need to talk in depth about the different schemes.”