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West Bay road changes cause people to 'risk lives'
1:00pm Friday 1st November 2013 in News
RESIDENTS of Harbour House old people’s home in West Bay say they are risking their lives to get to shops since the controversial road changes were introduced.
They are calling on West Dorset District Council to re-instate the island in the middle of the road by St John’s Church.
A pelican crossing would be even better, they believe.
Staff at the home say the strength of feeling among residents is very high.
Activities co-ordinator Barbara Probert said residents often had sight, hearing and mobility problems but they still wanted to maintain their independence as much as possible – something they could no longer do safely now crossing the road was so much more dangerous.
She said: “Without the island there they have lost their confidence. The council has got to stop and think about the elderly who are always going to be here in West Bay.”
Many of the residents say they either don’t go to the shops, rely on others to go for them, or they wait until other people are crossing to help them over.
Gillian Amour, 81, said: “I feel very strongly about the stupidity of this. It is just so ridiculous and absolutely dangerous now.
“People want to go to the shops or use the pier and get the sea air and it is past ridiculous.
“I don’t know how there hasn’t been an accident.”
Joy Chapman, 90, Doris Knight, 92, Joan Dickson, 94, Ruth Jones, 93, Annie Bond, 89, Pat Blackmore, 93, Rene Davidson, 69 and her 102-year-old mother Else Lane, all feel vulnerable crossing or have given up going altogether.
Chris Cherry and Michael Nicks, campaigners from the West Bay Forum, said the problems over the lack of a crossing came to light on the petition asking for the removal of the pinch point and to change the priority going into the harbour.
Mr Nicks said: “We feel that the other two issues can be solved at the same time, because if the priority turn is changed then a simple designated crossing can be placed adjacent to St John’s Church, as it used to be.”
Bridport Town Council has agreed to support the appeal.
Coun Robert Gould, leader of West Dorset District Council, said: “I would like to thank everyone for their feedback regarding the West Bay enhancement scheme.
“We will now be working with Dorset County Council to prepare an alternative design for the scheme which will allow two-way traffic at Haddon House and incorporate features that will make it easier for cyclists to cross the rumble strip.
“It was agreed that the surfacing of the pedestrian priority area between St John’s Church and the shops on the southern side will be looked at to make it more pedestrian friendly and further reduce traffic speeds.
“It is expected the design work will be completed by spring 2014.”