The mayor of Fordingbridge has called for change to “improve the shopping experience and sustainability” of the town.

The state of the high street and traffic was raised during the annual town assembly held by Fordingbridge Town Council earlier this month.

In her report, mayor Anna Wilson highlighted the calls from residents who had attended meetings to make “impassioned pleas to do something about the town especially the traffic”.

The meeting also heard a local business paid for a traffic survey to be done.

Cllr Wilson said: “Whilst this did not prove excessive speeding, it did show us that nearly 50 per cent are travelling at more than 20mph.”

In March, Fordingbridge Town Council backed the 20’s Plenty for Us campaign calling on Hampshire County Council to implement 20mph limits. As part of the motion the council agreed to write to the county council to make 20mph speed limits on streets throughout Hampshire in “places where people live, work, shop, play or learn”.

Last year, the town council sent out a survey to residents asking their thoughts on a number of items, including if they would like to see 20mph limits, which a previous meeting heard a high percentage were in favour especially for High Street and Salisbury Street.

Cllr Wilson added: “Having a 20mph speed limit, at least in our shopping areas with some raised courtesy crossings would help pedestrians feel safer than they do at present and allow them to shop freely, crossing the road where they wish to. None of this would break the budget at Hampshire County Council and may help us get the town back from the traffic.”

“At present, our high street appears as just another piece of highway,” added Cllr Wilson. “This has to change if we are to improve the shopping experience and sustainability of the town. Hampshire County Council could remove some of the signs that are quite old and with very little outlay put more trees and soft landscaping that would give our town a sense of place.”

One member of the public speaking about the state of the high street said the shops looked “horrendous” and highlighted the empty buildings in the town. Another said the state of the roads was an “absolute disgrace”. The meeting heard the the council keep raising it with Hampshire highways and a meeting had taken place.

Cllr Wilson also raised concerns about what happens with land owned by New Forest District Council. She said: “A great deal of what happens in our town relates to land that belongs to New Forest District Council. Sweatford Water Meadow and the area behind the Co-op in particular. Decisions are made about land in our town by officers of the district council, not by the elected members.”

She called for more consultation with the council and councillors.


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