TO say that Asda’s proposals to build a garage on the edge of its Boot Hill site in Weymouth have caused alarm and despondency ranks as the understatement of the year.
That small but blighted area has seen more tears shed by motorists than any other spot in the entire town.
First the Olympic authority and Dorset County Council went to great lengths to tell us all just how lucky we were to have 20 years of road “improvements” telescoped into a single year ahead of the Olympics.
Then they ripped all the town centre roundabouts out and replaced them with the sort of traffic light system you might find in a packet of cornflakes….if you were unlucky.
If the roundabouts struggled to cope with summer traffic then at least, when things slackened off, they worked perfectly well without delaying motorists in autumn, winter and Spring. The traffic lights delay all motorists on any journey they make at any time of the year….and we still get massive queues in summer!
Now the whole debate about transport and traffic flows in this part of Weymouth is literally being refueled by the prospect of a new petrol station on Asda land just yards from the worst motoring point in South Dorset.
Asda’s argument is that it will fit comfortably on its site albeit with the loss of a score of parking spaces in what is already a manic parking area. They also say that most of those filling up their car’s tank at the new pumps are expected to be its grocery customers taking advantage of a new facility on the site.
All well and good, but these petrol customers would formerly have been people who arrived, did their shopping and left.
Now we are being told that they might well hang around on site so they can put a few gallons of fuel in their car which is only going to increase the concentration of traffic on site.
And all this doesn’t even mention the strong possibility that a slower exit may back traffic up even more among those shoppers trying to use the entrance area to get in to Asda and buy their toilet rolls, spuds and the family roast.
We career towards a decision by next week’s Weymouth and Portland planning committee which is being recommended by its officers to grant Asda’s application.
But I think, that if councillors’ debate will be a hard one, then it could be harder still to actually get into the meeting because this is a highly emotive topic and there may well be one or two disgruntled motorists and residents who want to honk a few verbal horns at the whole idea of such a garage in such a place. Fuel for thought, isn’t it?!