Less than one week after BCP Council announced its plans to close sections of Boscombe and Southbourne Overcliff Drives to motorists, it has been forced to hit the brakes, following a surge in objections from the public.
The work, which was due to start on 24 August 2020, would have seen the installation of timber planters and bollards to restrict motorist access between Shelley Park and Chessel Avenue, and Portman Crescent and Seaward Avenue. The changes would have made the area safer for cyclists and pedestrians, but a number of concerns have been raised about the implications of the closures for various members of the public.
Defending the plans, the council have confirmed that it was not their intention to close the sections of road completely to cars or to prevent parking along the clifftop; the plans were designed to reduce the volume of through-traffic in those areas, as well as providing a safe alternative cycling route after the promenade was no longer accessible.
Councillor Andy Hadley, Portfolio Holder for Transport, BCP Council commented;
“As part of the response to COVID-19, it’s clear to see that the way we travel is changing, and as we head towards the new normal – going back to school and returning to workplaces – we want to support people to choose to travel more sustainably for shorter journeys. This also supports our vision is to create vibrant communities with outstanding quality of life where everyone plays an active part, and the new National Walking and Cycling Strategy.
“The Overcliff scheme has generated huge interest and concern in the local area. Whilst these travel measures are designed to be temporary and to allow time for people to give their feedback based on their experiences, it is clear we need to pause our plan for the Boscombe / Southbourne experimental traffic scheme and to seek further views from local people.
“We are keen to work with the local community on the extent and location of low-cost experimental measures in this area, and we need the views of those living, working in, and passing through the shopping areas of Southbourne Grove, Beechwood and Wentworth Avenue, Parkwood, Seabourne and Southbourne Road in order to shape a future scheme.”
Commenting on the other schemes being implemented elsewhere in the BCP area, he added: “We intend to pursue the remaining schemes already in progress as part of phase one, and we had already planned that if we are successful with funding for phase two work, this would be done in a different way with early consultation given available time.”