Council make further changes to Harbourside road closures

Dorset Council has put signs on the access roads coming into Weymouth, warning visitors of the Harbourside road closures.

This was a result of comments made by the public, after the authority put measures in place at Weymouth Harbour, to enable businesses to reopen safely.

The authority has pedestrianised Custom House Quay, Cove Street and Hope Square to traffic for 12 weeks.

The roads are closed from 10:30am to 9am to allow pubs, cafe’s and restaurant to open with outdoor seating to meet social distancing measures.

A spokesperson from Dorset Council said:

“The handling of these temporary traffic restrictions was driven by a very short Government notice period to further relax lockdown and allow for social distancing.”

“It simply was not possible to use normal and lengthy public consultation. The principle objective was to help businesses re-open with safe places to eat and drink outside of the premises.”

“We very much appreciate everyone’s cooperation with these temporary measures and wish everyone a safe weekend ahead.”

“To date we have received 180 comments or ideas relating to the Harbour area, 163 of which are in favour of reducing traffic and increasing space for social distancing on the harbourside, with 17 voicing concerns from residents or businesses, many of which have been resolved. In addition to this our Community Highways Officer spoke to many businesses in the area ahead of 4 July.

“We received a petition on 17 June containing more than 200 signatures which opposed closure of roads around the harbour. The temporary restrictions in place today were modified to take these comments into account, and as such, vehicular access for residents and businesses are not affected. Again, helping local businesses open safely.”

The following measures have been rectified:

  • The layout now includes more signage making it clearer which users have access to the affected area.
  • Warning signs are now in place on the access roads into Weymouth – to help with congestion along the esplanade.
  • The permanent variable message signs (VMS) on the A354 relief road will display messages about the harbourside before motorists arrive in Weymouth.
  • A variable message sign has been sited at the Pier Bandstand end of the esplanade which will show localised information depending on the level of traffic.

Dorset Council would like to remind locals and visitors why these temporary restrictions are in place:

  • We were asked by the Government to support local businesses to reopen safely, allowing for socially distanced outside seating, unfortunately, we only had 10 days in which to do this.
  • We have now contacted local security companies and have awarded the crowd management contract to a local firm.
  • Permanent pedestrianisation of the harbour area would require full public consultation. It was never the council’s intention to introduce permanent pedestrianisation.
  • We have worked in partnership with Weymouth Town Council and Dorset Police on the current restrictions from the beginning, taking all harbour users into account.
  • The vehicular restrictions are temporary until the end of summer.
  • Zone L permit holders may use permits in North Quay and Nothe Car parks for the duration of the temporary measures. We have also tried to create some additional Zone F permit holder spaces along Custom House Quay by making them ‘permit only’.
  • Resident and business vehicular access are unaffected.
  • This is not pedestrianisation of the Harbour, this is restricting vehicular access for a short period to help businesses reopen safely, supporting the local economy.
  • As we move through the summer, our resources and restrictions can be adjusted to suit numbers and needs.