Anyone who has lived in Bournemouth for any length of time cannot fail to have noticed the dramatic increase in traffic and congestion. Of course travelling around the town was always difficult at rush hour, but it seems never-ending some days.
I’m pleased to see that the Wessex Way is going to be getting upgraded, and although I’d like to see it widened to three lanes, I’m afraid that until that commitment is met all the way to the M27, then it would simply result in the same queues once people reached Ashley Heath instead. What I do want to see is a total redesign of the Blackwater junction and the northbound on-slip at Richmond Hill – both of which are very dangerous and regularly result in serious accidents.
I would also try to focus on reducing the levels of congestion around our town, this is where I think both local and national polices are failing. In particular I think we need to help reduce the numbers of cars doing the ‘school run’.
Now, this is not because I think parents are lazy, or being over-protective, it’s simply that there are so many parents who have not been able to get their children into their preferred school, or one within walking distance – so they have no choice but to drive them.
You just cannot be expected to put a 5yr old child on a bus and hope they know when to get off. Of course what everyone is too scared to admit is that the chief driver of this demand for schools places has been unlimited open-door immigration from the EU – something which only UKIP are promising to address by bringing in an Australian style points based system that allows us to control the both quality and quantity of people wanting to settle here.
Only last week I had an email from a lady who was distraught about the Council’s decision to send her child to a school that was 3 miles away, rather than any of the three schools that were within walking distance. She doesn’t drive, so it means that she’ll have to give up work and claim benefits in order to send her son to school. That the Government and local council’s could not see this problem coming is nothing less than gross incompetence, and we can’t keep burying our heads in the sand over the issue.