Deep dive on working group projects
Last month we updated and reset the main council working groups (WG). These project groups are intended to comprise of both councillors and interested residents. If you are interested in joining please let us know. Each month we will highlight one of the groups and update you about their projects in more detail. This month we are starting with the Highways group.
Lytchett Matravers Highways WG
The goal of the Highways group is essentially to work with the Dorset Council Highways team and push for improvements to both pedestrian and vehicular safety around the village. This includes concerns about a lack of drop kerbs in key areas of the village; problems with the Tesco forecourt and the ongoing potential to develop a cycleway to provide a safer route to Lytchett Minster School. Alongside this, there has been extensive work to generate safer crossing solutions for the High Street (between the Rec and the Library & shops) and of course, Wareham Road by the school. In fact, concerns for safety around the school have generated more requests for improvements than any other road topic around the village. Therefore, reviewing what has happened over the last few years is useful.
Wareham Road Crossing
Since the school opened, a school crossing patrol (SCP) had been established on Wareham Road. In 2017, the then SCP left and it was over a year before a replacement was found, despite advertising by DC, the school and the PC. For parents/carers of the schoolchildren road safety concerns became a real priority.
To raise awareness of the issues, LMPS parents/carers campaigned to make the road safer and generated a petition to demand improvements to the school crossing. This was signed by over 600 residents and presented to Dorset Council (DC). LMPC followed this with a large public meeting in the Village Hall where representatives from DC Highways listen to the issues and concerns and discussed possible routes forward.
As a result, DC commissioned SUSTRANS to undertake a formal public consultation. They explored a number of options and ran workshops for children, parents/carers and residents to collate the information and views. Their key conclusion was that a crossing was needed just by the bus stop outside the Preschool.
To generate feedback, the design proposals were displayed at the Annual Parish Meeting in the Library in May 2019 and distributed to all households via the Lytchett Link in July 2019. You can find a copy of their report on the LMPC website.
Based on this, and the continued concerns and calls for improvements, particularly when the crossing patrol person is not present, LMPC have always felt that a formal road crossing is the preferred option and have urged DC Highways to generate detailed proposals.
In response, DC sent through a proposal for a Zebra crossing a few months ago. To meet Highways requirements this would entail the following: 1) relocate bus stop to between school entrances. 2) close off layby by crossing point, and 3) remove and repaint all road markings, including double yellow lines either side of crossing to improve visibility. As this is a DC Highways project, they would meet the costs, estimated to be around £80k including contingency.
To move forward with this, or any other proposal, DC would have to undertake a full consultation first. This is important as new parking restrictions would change the dynamics of the area and further measures would need to be considered once its full impact can be assessed.
Looking at the bigger picture, the Parish Council is also considering a 20mph scheme for the village, including the stretch of road by the school. For this, roads need to be ‘self-restricting’ with chicanes, humps, bends or other road features – so a permanent crossing would provide one such speed feature. Whilst no crossing scheme can offer a guaranteed safe solution Zebra crossings are internationally recognised and generally respected by motorists. They also give the village the opportunity for children to be taught the life skill of using them. In addition, LMPC would also like to pursue the use of the Astro driveway as a carpark and school drop off point.
Celebrating 80-years of D-Day
Just a reminder that June 6th, 2024 will mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings, a landmark date in history for forging peace across Europe. We have set up a working group to help organise both a beacon lighting on the Rec on the Thursday evening (June 6th) and hopefully a full village picnic, fete or party on the Saturday or Sunday. If you would like to get involved with the organising committee or take part in the events please get in touch with Cllr Rob Aspray.
There will only be one meeting in August, on Wednesday 9th, 7pm in the Blanchard Room of the Village Hall. Agendas and meeting minutes are available online and can be sent to you automatically if you register for our emails and newsletter on the LMPC website. Also, if you would like a copy of any of the working group updates, please email the Parish Clerk who will send them through to you.