ANGRY West Bay residents and businesses are fighting to change the road priority into the harbour and get a pedestrian crossing.

Their battle follows victory in a campaign to remove a hated pinch point near Haddon House Hotel.

The pinch point and the changed road priority were both part of West Dorset District Council’s £1.2million West Bay enhancement scheme.

A petition requests urgent action to restore a crossing point outside the Harbour House residential accommodation for the elderly and to reverse changes made to the priority turning at the junction between West Bay Road and Station Road.

It has nearly 1,500 signatures and will be put before West Dorset District Council today, January 9, for discussion by the full council.

Petitioners will be supported by ward councillor David Tett and county councillor Ros Kayes.

Coun Ros Kayes who, with residents helped set up the Community Forum in May last year, said: “While we have achieved agreement from the county and district councils to remove the Haddon House pinch point, I share the concerns of residents and businesses that it is no longer safe for residents of Harbour House to cross the road since the central island was removed. We need a dedicated crossing immediately.

“The attempt to make the zone from the Station Road junction to St John’s Church a pedestrian-friendly area where anyone can cross anywhere and expect cars to give way has clearly failed.

“Spending time at the junction and talking to local businesses it is quite obvious that the change in priority at the junction only creates confusion.

“Vehicles from both directions have to pull we over the white lines in the centre of the road in order to turn, and drivers either drive too fast around the tight bend because they no longer have to stop, or dither at a junction where they are now obliged to stop before turning into the harbour whereas before they had unrestricted access.

“This creates havoc for pedestrians trying to cross outside the shops.

“It’s an excellent example of where something that looks good on paper totally fails on the ground. It’s dangerous and I hope fellow councillors will support an immediate reversion to the original crossing and priority, which is what I will be asking for on Thursday.”

The matter will be discussed at full council today with officers recommendations to either take the action requested on the petition, not to take the action or refer the decision to either the executive committee or an overview and scrutiny committee.

Coun Robert Gould, leader of West Dorset District Council, said: “The council will discuss the petition at a full council meeting today.

“We would like to thank everyone for their feedback and we will continue to work with Dorset County Council to prepare designs for changes to the scheme.”

The two authorities are working on a new road layout design to allow two-way traffic by Haddon House which is expected to be completed by the spring.