A group of residents, backed by the environmental group, Planet Purbeck have come up with a plan to pedestrianise Wareham Quay.
The idea is to create, what they call, ‘a safe, tranquil, traffic-free space’. The scheme is to be presented at the Wareham Town Council full council meeting on Tuesday 2nd March 2021.
Removing the 27 car parking spaces
In the report, it proposes turning the Dorset Council car park into a piazza by removing the 27 car parking spaces, allowing for more opportunities for al fresco dining, hosting events like Wareham Wednesdays and more riverside seating.
The document claims that car parking currently means an increased danger for pedestrians, especially children, and heavy pollution from exhaust fumes.
“Eating and drinking in the midst of moving vehicles and unseen fumes”
“This is particularly an issue since the four refreshment outlets on the quay have expanded outside.
“Although this move has been generally welcomed by customers, as it offers more open-air tables, space and social interaction (a GOOD thing), it cannot be right for individuals and families to be dodging cars and eating and drinking in the midst of moving vehicles and unseen fumes (a very BAD thing).”
While wishing to get rid of the car parking, the plan does say it would be necessary to allow for deliveries to the businesses and access for disabled parking. It’s envisaged that the Saturday Market would continue as usual.
There’s currently one parking space for the disabled
“Loss of car parking revenue for Dorset Council”
The report pinpoints the main barrier to the idea:
“We recognise that the proposal, if adopted, would result in a loss of car parking revenue for Dorset Council from the quay. The amount involved is between £30,000 and £35,000 in a typical year (Source: Dorset Council via a Freedom of Information request).
“We also understand this was a major factor in the failure of past attempts to pedestrianise the quay. However, this loss could be offset in several ways.”
It then goes on to conclude:
“…by pedestrianising the quay and making it more attractive to tourists and people living in Wareham and the surrounding area, more people will use the town’s car parking facilities, thus actually increasing overall parking revenue.”
To walk from the bridge, round to the river frontage, pedestrians currently have to step into the road
“Purbeck’s answer to the ‘café society’ piazzas”
The newly formed environmental group Planet Purbeck is backing the idea. On its website it said:
“Planet Purbeck is supporting a terrific proposal by a group of Wareham residents to pedestrianise Wareham Quay.
“Like them, we feel it is a perfect way to provide a safe, tranquil, traffic-free space that can become Wareham’s throbbing heart at the town’s most beautiful riverside location – Purbeck’s answer to the ‘café society”’ piazzas so beloved of British tourists in Europe.
“We also believe the detailed plan reveals enormous potential in terms of events and attractions that can be staged in such a space. It will benefit the townspeople, valued visitors and the local economy alike.
“And it is a golden opportunity for both Wareham Town Council and Dorset Council to make a concrete statement of intent following their declarations of a Climate and Ecological Emergency.”
While any decisions will have to be made by Dorset Council, the group hopes to win the support of Wareham Town Council at its next full council meeting on Tuesday 2nd March 2021.