THE planned closure of a major Poole route for up to two months next year has led residents to call for a dropped link road to be reinstated.

Six months work on the A349 Gravel Hill road to stabilise crumbling banks and improve junctions will mean partial and full closures of the main route north from the town, used by 27,000 vehicles a day.

This £4.2million scheme has led residents to seek the clock to be wound back to the 1970s, when there was a proposal for a dual carriageway across Canford Heath to link Dorset Way with the A31 at Ferndown. and a link between the Dunyeats Road/Gravel Hill roundabout and Canford Heath Road.

It was described as, "An effective and simple solution with minimum upheaval to local residents and traffic alike," by Vince Gravenor of Merley. "This is the solution and it is needed now."

Frank de Mello of Merley said the proposals were only "tinkering" with the problem of access and congestion and the answer was to re-visit the 1970s Core Strategic Plan to link the Dorset Way with the A31 at Ferndown.

"It would result in bliss for all of us who love this area, except for the unnecessary gridlock," said John Brown of Colehill.

However Sue Bowley of Poole raised fears for the destruction of the internationally important heathland, home to Dartford warblers and endangered reptiles. "We are lucky enough to live in a beautiful area, destroying rare habitat is not the way to improve it."

Julian McLaughlin, head of transportation services, Borough of Poole, said: “The previous scheme for a link road was dropped from the national roads programme in the 1990s and national policy has now moved on. However, our aspiration for such an improvement is written in to the Local Transport Plan for the longer term, although its form has not been defined.

"Shorter term projects are smaller but help to improve access to planned sites for growth, while our highest strategic priority for the future would be to extend the dual carriageway on the A31 trunk road from Ferndown to as far as the roundabout at Merley.

"The trunk road itself lies under the authority of Highway England. We have made it clear how important an improved access is for the local area and shall seek to have the proposal reinstated in the national programme of improvement schemes."