Town to push for closure of A31 rat-run if funds approved

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west street ringwood
This exit to the A31 may be closed off (photo: Google)

RINGWOOD Town Council will press for a controversial rat-run to be closed in if it gains coronavirus funding to boost the high street’s recovery.

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Members want the West Street access onto the A31 shut off, which had been mooted to happen this year before Covid-19 hit.

They noted at their latest meeting they could get it done temporarily by asking New Forest District Council to include it in an action plan it will form while sharing a Reopening of High Streets Safely Fund between local towns and villages.

The pot of money is designed for projects that will boost high streets hit by the pandemic and allow shoppers and cars to navigate the streets safely.

Closing off the West Street access, members claimed, would improve traffic flow and stop pedestrians and vehicles coming into close contact.

Members stressed the importance of signage to support closing West Street and the need to inform drivers as far back as Picket Post on the A31.

The town’s county councillor, Cllr Michael Thierry, revealed he had already asked HCC officers to look at closing the route.

As reported in the A&T, closing off West Street has split opinion but the move will happen in time as it is included in the major Highways England scheme to revamp the A31 and widen it to three lanes to combat congestion problems.

That is expected to be completed by 2022.

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