Councillors renew backing for crossing as costs rise by £100,000

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Christchurch Road Ringwood
The cost of a pedestrian crossing on Christchurch Road, Ringwood, has gone up to £250,000 (Photo: stock image)

TOWN councillors renewed their backing for a pedestrian crossing in Ringwood despite costs rising by £100,0000.

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More than two years have passed since it was suggested to build the traffic safety feature on Christchurch Road, close to the busy Lidl store.

Members of the council’s planning committee said the increased price did not dissuade them pursuing it as it was “badly needed”.

It was originally suggested the crossing would cost around £100,000 – but that figure was subsequently increased to £150,000. It has now reached up to £250,000.

The money to fund it was provided by Lidl as a developer’s contribution to help it secure permission to build the store in 2017.

Since then, however, the project to establish a crossing – which has been consistently supported by the town council – has been beset by delays.

Planning meeting chairman Cllr Philip Day said he recently held a meeting with officials from New Forest District Council – which controls the developers’ contributions pot – and Hampshire County Council, the highways authority.

The HCC official had explained the price of the crossing had increased to between “£200,000 and £250,000”, Cllr Day said, which would likely see it cancelled.

However, Cllr Day said the NFDC official said it could find the extra £100,000 from Ringwood’s portion of the developers’ contributions pot if the town council agreed.

The money, Cllr Day added, could only be spent on the crossing project and by a certain date – which he did not specify – otherwise it would be lost.

Both Cllr Day and mayor Cllr Tony Ring said the crossing was “badly needed” by residents as Christchurch Road was a busy route by which pedestrians access the town centre.

There were other matters members had to consider, Cllr Day said. But they were commercially sensitive, so members debated those behind closed doors in private.

The committee confirmed after the private session concluded it voted to spend the money on a crossing, and would make an official request to Hampshire County Council.

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