HIGHCLIFFE resident have welcomed moves to reinvigorate the high street by lowering the speed limit to 20mph, widening pavements and removing parking bays.
The new proposals were unveiled by Highcliffe and Walkford Parish Council which says it will create a “café culture” in the village.
It employed consultants Paul Basham Associates to look at ways Lymington Road could be improved amid fears the pandemic would sound its death knell.
With the aim of making it “less congested and chaotic”, they suggested free parking sessions in the Wortley Road car park to “remove the dominance” of vehicles in the village centre, as well as a new zebra crossing.
Pavements would be widened and improved, while there would be increased signage for cyclists.
After the plans were made public by the parish council, people in the village said they would welcome the changes, with many adding they do not currently use it.
Posting on social media one man admitted: “I live in Highcliffe but rarely go to the high street because the shops there have nothing to offer unless you are 80 or older.”
One claimed: “Some of the current shops believe they are mini Harrods. Prices are ridiculous.”
Others said they looked forward to the proposals being implemented, with one saying: “About time, poor village. It used to be so lovely with all the little shops.”
Some residents offered their own suggestions for revitalising Lymington Road, with one saying: “I don’t mean we can turn the clock back but let’s have less of the retirement village filled with well-heeled residents.
“Need to cater for people who work and can’t afford to pay huge prices to eat. There is really only the Globe which is ‘affordable’ in the evenings.”
Another called for a wine bar to be created, saying: “Would be lovely. But there would be complaints about noise, etc. Many people are very happy with the status quo – everything closing early, and all tucked up with cocoa.”
On the proposals to remove parking bays, except two for the disabled, one resident said: “Get rid of all street parking. Make the car park free for 30mins for those short runs to the bakery and butcher when just nipping in.”
Highcliffe Action Team (HAT) was also pleased with the new measures. A spokesperson told the A&T: “HAT passionately supports positive measures that will further benefit our high street.
“Clearly, it’s been a very difficult year for a number of our traders, shops, offices and businesses on Lymington Road, so we look forward to working together on new and innovative initiatives to take Highcliffe forward.
“May we also take this opportunity to encourage local residents to continue to support our high street, particularly through the winter season.”
The parish council is hoping the plans will be supported by BCP Council so work can begin next year.