A statue of the Queen Mother in Prince Charles’ ‘perfect’ village of Poundbury has been labelled a ‘dangerous minefield’ by locals who are confused over whether it is a roundabout or not.
Motorists and driving instructors have been left baffled by the bronze and concrete memorial which was installed in the experimental new town on the outskirts of Dorchester in 2016.
The confusing statue has left residents unsure over the correct way to approach it, with many calling the situation a ‘minefield’ and a ‘free for all’.
According to the Highway Code, the statue is not a roundabout but the directional arrows dotted around the memorial have left some drivers under the impression that it is.
Drivers say no one is given priority at the four-way junction, with one resident calling the design ‘pretentious, contrived and badly designed.’
Motorists have been left confused over whether a statue of the Queen Mother in the village of Poundbury, on the outskirts of Dorchester, is or is not a roundabout
Commenting on the debate online, one person said: ‘Not sure if the Queen Mother is a roundabout or a junction?!’
Another said: ‘Poundbury is a strange concept, borrowed from communities that are usually built up round social changes and vernacular styles that change over the generations.
‘The older end is beginning to mellow somewhat, but Queen Mother Square is pretentious, contrived and badly designed.’
A third added: ‘Lots of vehicles parked but many people don’t seem to know where to drive.’
Darren Stocke, a retired driving instructor, said giving lessons was a ‘minefield’.
He said: ‘It’s designed to slow down traffic but it doesn’t work.
‘You could be driving up through there and somebody could just stop right in front of you because they don’t know what they’re doing – it’s a minefield.
‘I said somebody will get killed here and somebody actually did – it happened in Poundbury, just around the corner from the statue.
‘It is not any type of roundabout. The actual Queen Mother Statue is a free for all – nobody has priority over anybody else.’
Mr Stocke said according to the Highway Code it is not a roundabout but ‘people look at the direction signs and automatically think it’s a roundabout’.
He added that ‘legally, it’s not a roundabout but I always instructed my pupils to act as if it was, just for safety’.
Martin Davenport, who has ran MJD School or Motoring for three years, said it’s ‘definitely not’ a roundabout, but because drivers think it is, it gets treated like one.
The statue is not a roundabout but the directional arrows dotted around the memorial have left some drivers believing it is
Others residents have said driving near the statue in the village is a ‘minefield’ and a ‘free for all’
He said: ‘The reason it’s not a roundabout is there’s no advanced warning sign, it’s a statue with a keep left sign.
‘It’s not a roundabout – it’s a statue that you have to go left around. I’m stood by it now – there is no give way marking or even a mini roundabout sign. The whole area is what they call a ‘shared space.’ So, pedestrians and cars can use it.
‘There is definitely confusion. When I teach, I always highlight to my students it’s not a roundabout but 90 per cent would say it is. It invites traffic and pedestrians to use as they see fit.
‘I don’t think it necessarily needs changing – but there needs to be a reduction of speed as people go too quick.
‘It needs to be 20mph or less as in essence it is a pedestrian area. The speed limit is 30mph which is dangerous.’
In a statement, a Dorset Council spokesman said: ‘Queen Mother Square, Poundbury has been designed and constructed in accordance with the Poundbury Masterplan and Planning Permission granted in October 1999.
The experimental town was created ‘according to the principles of Prince Charles’
‘The area itself has not yet been adopted as highway maintainable at the public expense; however, Dorset Council has worked closely with the Duchy of Cornwall in relation to its detailed design and layout.
‘The central statue within the square is signed on all approaches with directional arrows to denote the direction in which vehicles should travel around the feature (a blue circle with white arrow).
‘In accordance with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016, these signs are regulatory signs and as such all vehicles are required to comply with them.’
The Poundbury estate on the outskirts of Dorchester was built on the Duchy’s land – and designed to be a ‘new approach’ to town planning.
It was created ‘according to the principles of Prince Charles’ who is known for strong views challenging post-war urban expansion.
Source: Daily Mail UK