Controversial Weymouth traffic restrictions ease this weekend

Controversial Weymouth traffic restrictions ease this weekend

Published by George Sharpe at 6:00pm 23rd July 2020. (Updated at 6:02pm 23rd July 2020)

Controversial traffic restrictions on Weymouth's Harbourside will be eased this weekend.

Restrictions currently prevent traffic passing through the harbour area between 10:30 am and 9 pm but, as of Saturday 25th July, the restrictions will be in place for a shorter time through the day.

Dorset Council has been monitoring the changes in the three weeks since they came into effect and are reducing the restrictions to only be active between 10:30 am and 6 pm.

Weymouth Harbour

Cllr Ray Bryan, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and the Environment, said:

"We jointly agreed to put these restrictions in place at the beginning of July to help hospitality businesses reopen safely while adhering to the rules on social distancing. That element has been successful, and all agencies are pleased to have seen a café culture type atmosphere develop on the harbourside during the day.
 
"We said at the start that we might alter plans to suit the needs of the town. As such, our monitoring has shown that we are in a position to reduce some of those measures, without compromising anyone's safety. The need to encourage residents and visitors to other parts of the town is a priority. We will keep monitoring and may decide to alter plans again if the need arises, but we will only do that with support of partners.
 
"The council really is in a difficult position; we have to follow Government guidelines, and these measures were put in as a result of that advice as lockdown eased. We are trying to support all local businesses, while ensuring the safety of everyone who uses the harbour. We know we can't please everyone, but we are doing what we can to keep people safe from COVID-19 while supporting businesses to get back on their feet."

While the road will be open to traffic from 6 pm each evening, parking spaces that are already closed off along the harbourside will be used by the businesses to continue to provide outdoor seating for customers.

Traffic restrictions were put in place on 4th July to allow businesses along the harbourside to provide safe, socially distanced seating for customers as the hospitality sector began to reopen following lockdown easing.

Some businesses and residents were upset with the scheme as they said they weren't properly consulted on it. 

The local authority said, at the time, they were working under emergency COVID-19 legislation to help support businesses reopening during the pandemic.