Studland Parish Council is calling for a rethink on the decision to close a main road into the village for roadworks at the same time as the Sandbanks Ferry shuts down for maintenance for five weeks from Monday 31st October 2022.
Wessex Water is relocating and replacing an old water main near Corfe Castle in a major £500,000 project to enhance water quality and improve reliability to cope with increasing demand.
Work to replace the water main alongside Studland Road has already started
Five week road closure
While most of the new pipe will be laid in fields adjacent to the B3351 Studland Road, the last section will be relaid under the road resulting in a five week road closure. The road links Studland with Corfe Castle, avoiding Swanage.
Wessex Water consulted with Dorset Council highways, Corfe Castle Parish Council and Studland Parish Council to agree on the best time for the road closure to take place.
The options were to close the road at the same time as the ferry was out of action in November and December 2022 or stagger the disruption and close the road in January 2023, once the ferry had resumed service.
Dorset Council highways team preferred closing the road at the same time as the ferry was unoperational, as there would be less traffic using the road when the ferry wasn’t in use.
With Studland Road closed and Sandbanks Ferry out of service, all traffic will have to go via Corfe Castle’s notoriously tight bend
Limit access to Studland and push all traffic through Corfe Castle and Swanage
However both Corfe Castle and Studland Parish Council argued not to close both ferry and road links to Studland simultaneously, as this would limit access to Studland and push all traffic through Corfe Castle and Swanage.
Wessex Water has now announced that the five week B3351 closure, in agreement with Dorset Council, will coincide with the suspension of the ferry service that links Studland to Sandbanks.
It says it has also worked closely with other local authorities and businesses in the area in agreeing the schedule.
The Pig on the Beach Hotel at Studland is a major employer in the village
“We are greatly disappointed”
Chair of Studland Parish Council Nick Boulter said:
“Residents and businesses face a double whammy in having the B3351 and ferry shut at the same time.
“Studland Parish Council recognises the need for the road to be closed at some stage to allow the essential work to be conducted, but we have proposed on numerous occasions that this happens in early January – when the ferry is back in service.
“Representing the residents and businesses in Studland, Studland Parish Council has requested that the two essential transport links to Studland not be shut at the same time.
“We are greatly disappointed by the Wessex Water decision and ask them to reconsider, and to move the road closure to January 2023.”
Many from Poole and Bournemouth rely on the Sandbanks Ferry to get to work in Studland
“There may be real suffering to residents, even potentially deaths”
Studland Parish Council says it has good reasons to oppose the decision by Dorset Council and Wessex Water, not least the concern that it will take emergency vehicles longer to reach Studland and potentially risk lives.
Nick Boulter said:
“The reasons for this are:
“Travel to and from the Studland area to Wareham, Poole, Bournemouth and beyond will be severely restricted for the five week period: instead of taking the short route via the ferry, or the direct route to Corfe on the B3351, all vehicles will have to travel much longer distances.
“Many employees of local businesses – such as at the main hotels, The Pig and Knoll House or restaurants such as Shell Bay or the Isle of Purbeck Golf Club or the National Trust – live in Poole or Bournemouth and travel daily to Studland: their journeys times will be longer, and more expensive as a result of the double closure
“Many customers to our businesses come from Poole or Bournemouth – and they will be put off by the extra journey time, and the extra cost. At least one of the businesses is being forced to shut down during this period.
“Of major concern, ambulances, fire engines, police and other emergency response teams will also have to travel much greater distances via Swanage – delaying the response that they can give. For some people having an illness – such as a stroke – could be made fatal by the extra delays in responding.
“We request that Wessex Water ensures that the emergency services can reach Studland residents in a comparable time to now – otherwise there may be real suffering to residents, even potentially deaths.”
A new water main is being laid to replace an old degrading pipe
Closed from Monday 31st October 2022
The initial stage of replacing the water main started in July 2022, with Wessex Water teams working in fields close to the B3351 near Corfe Castle before moving on to the road from mid-September.
It’s planned that from Monday 31st October 2022 for five weeks, a short section of the B3351 just north of Corfe Castle will be closed near the entrance to Dorset Adventure Park, with a signposted diversion route agreed with Dorset Council, via the A351 and Ulwell Road in Swanage in place.
Wessex Water says that the existing main was sited entirely within the road but its engineers redesigned the project so that the vast majority of more than 1,000 metres of new main was moved on to adjacent land, minimising the impact of the work on the local area.
A depot area has been set up just off Studland Road to support the road works
“We will be carrying out the work as quickly as possible”
Speaking before Studland Parish Council publicly called on Wessex Water to change its mind about the scheduling of work, a Wessex Water spokesperson said:
“Only a short section of the new main will now be within the road and we will be carrying out that work as quickly as possible between September and the start of December.’’
“We have been in contact with businesses and authorities throughout the Isle of Purbeck to advise them of the impact of the work and access arrangements.
“We will continue to update them on the progress of the project, which is expected to be completed by Friday 2nd December and apologise for any inconvenience caused.’’
Later in response to the concerns raised by Studland Parish Council a Wessex Water spokesperson added:
“To minimise impact on the community, we redesigned the scheme so that the vast majority of the new water main has been moved off the B3351 into adjacent fields.
“Following advice from Dorset Council, work has been timed to take place away from the busy summer holiday season and during a period in which the Sandbanks chain ferry is closed for maintenance so there’s less traffic passing through.
“We contacted parish councils in both Corfe Castle and Studland, as well as businesses and organisations directly affected, to advise them of the closure and no concerns were raised.
“We are happy to hear about any specific concerns and will look to see what we might be able to do to help.”
Responding to Wesses Water, the chair of Studland Parish Council Nick Boulter said that the council provided its views through the consultation process – organised by Dorset Council – on four successive occasions – 18th March, 12th April, 26th July and 10th August 2022.
Each time the parish council requested that the road closure should not be at the same time as the ferry shut down, as it would delay access by emergency services, damage local businesses and would add extra travel time and costs for residents.