The Borough of Poole (Poole Harbour Opening Bridges) - Inspectors Report

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2. Description of the Site and Its Surroundings

2.1 Poole lies on the south coast of England at the eastern extremity of the County of Dorset. It forms the western part of the conurbation of Bournemouth/Poole.

2.2 Poole Harbour, said to be the second largest natural harbour in the world, lies between the town of Poole and the open sea. Holes Bay is a largely tidal inland lake which lies to the north of Poole Harbour, and is connected to it by the BWC which runs generally north between Poole and Hamworthy. The sole direct link across the BWC is Poole Bridge, a lifting bridge which carries land traffic of all kinds. The Weymouth-Waterloo railway runs west-east on a causeway across the northern part of Holes Bay.

2.3 Poole Bridge is approached from the west along the B3068/A350 Blandford Road. From the east it is approached from the A35 south along the A350 Holes Bay Road which runs along the eastern side of Holes Bay to a roundabout at the western end of the Towngate Bridge, and then south-west along either West Quay Road or West Street. Of these parallel roads, West Quay Road is the more westerly lying closer to the eastern side of the BWC.

2.4 At the south-western end of West Quay Road/West Street, there is a small one-way gyratory system: west-bound traffic intending to cross the Bridge must use West Street, if necessary reaching it from West Quay Road along the short link provided by Bay Hog Lane. The south-western-most section of West Quay Road is one-way north-east-bound. Towngate Bridge leads from the roundabout at the southern end of Holes Bay Road eastward to Poole town centre and to Bournemouth and other points to the east of Poole.

2.5 Hamworthy is the westernmost part of the Borough, located on either side of Blandford Road. It lies on a peninsula, formed by the BWC, Holes Bay, Lytchett Bay to its west, and the Wareham Channel, which is formed by the Rivers Frome and Piddle which flow from the west into Poole Harbour. The Port of Poole and its cross-Channel ferry terminal are located at the southern end of the Hamworthy peninsula in Lower Hamworthy.

2.6 On the western side of the BWC is an area of derelict land formerly occupied by a power station ("the power station site"). Access to this site is principally by way of Rigler Road which runs north-east from a point on the B3068 Blandford Road some 600 metres to the west of Poole Bridge. On the eastern side of the BWC are four public accesses from West Quay Road to the water. These are known locally as "the Four Ways"; from south to north, they are: Dee Way, Wilkins Way, Whittles Way, and the Slip Way.

2.7 The national headquarters of the RNLI and its Training School are located on either side of West Quay Road, with direct access to the BWC. Sydenhams' timber yard lies immediately north of the existing bridge with a wharf frontage on the western side of the BWC. Cobbs Quay is located on the western side of Holes Bay with road access from the B3068 Blandford Road.

2.8 Poole or Town Quay runs eastward along the northern side of Poole Harbour from a point to the east of Poole Bridge. The short channel which links Poole Harbour with the BWC is known as the Little Channel.

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