Town centres may be redesigned to help shoppers social distance

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town centres redesigned
Traffic lights in the centre of New Milton may be altered

TOWN centres across the New Forest and Christchurch will see changes as civic chiefs seek to encourage social distancing amid the post-coronavirus recovery.

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Hampshire county and BCP councils are reviewing the layout of local highways and street furniture to help protect pedestrians as firms start reopening their doors from Monday.

One scheme mooted is to alter New Milton town centre’s traffic light crossings – with a confined area on the corner of Old Milton Road and Station Road said to be a “particular concern”.

New Milton Town Council is consulting high street traders. In an email, seen by the A&T, the council stressed it wanted to make the town “as reassuring and welcoming a place as possible”.

Proposals were due to have been reviewed on Wednesday afternoon by officers and a further announcement could come on Monday.

HCC deputy leader Cllr Rob Humby said pedestrian waiting times at 166 pelican, puffin and toucan crossings across the county had been reduced to get people over roads quickest and prevent crowds gathering.

BCP Council said it was talking to businesses, and its schemes included more than 1,500 signs at road crossings, beach promenades and zig-zags on lamp columns, bins and pedestrian bollards advising people to “keep left” and “keep your distance”.

Signs were already up in Christchurch town centre, it added, and more would be rolled out in shopping areas.

Ringwood makeover resumes

A MAKEOVER of Ringwood town centre worth £225,000 to boost accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians is set to resume.

A host of small scale projects have been lined up Hampshire County Council, such as the resurfacing and widening of the Strides Lane footpath and installing new dropped kerbs.

Traffic calming measures at the Market Place end of West Street will also be installed, an improved pedestrian crossing between the Furlong Shopping Centre and Ringwood Gateway/the town centre car parks built and improvements made to the crossing adjacent the meeting house.

They are linked to a major multi-million Highways England traffic project lessen congestion on the A31, with preparatory work well underway. It will see the westbound carriageway widened to three lanes, the West Street access blocked off and the one-way traffic flow in Meeting House Lane reversed.

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