A CONTROVERSIAL automatic bus gate has moved one stage further towards being lowered permanently.
Fareham Borough Council‘s planning committee agreed yesterday to a trial opening of the bollards at Yew Tree Drive in Whiteley.
The bollards have been lowered since March because of pier replacement works being carried out on a bridge over the M27.
These works will now finish in February, later than originally planned.
A three month, monitored trial will then be held at the end of these works to assess whether the gate could be permanently lowered.
Councillors gave permission for the bollards to be lowered for a year from yesterday to allow time for the motorway works to finish.
The council had it written into its local plan 25 years ago that the bus gate would not be opened to all traffic until Whiteley Way is completed. But many in Whiteley have been calling for the gate to be opened up for years.
A deputation was made at the meeting by Whiteley parish councillor Hazel Croft-Phillips urging a ban on HGVs using the road, to put in mitigation measures to slow down drivers and to improve the corner of Sweethills Crescent.
She said: ‘We are not asking for the closure of Yew Tree Drive only for more thought to be put into the process.’
Councillors agreed to add a condition banning HGVs and that they will approve the mitigation measures before the trial goes ahead.
On the committee Cllr Katrina Trott said: ‘I can only agree. I know this area very well and I have family there. I think it is an excellent idea to open Yew Tree Drive but I would add a note of caution to the proposal not to expect too much too soon.’
But not everybody is happy about the trial opening.
Chris Moore, who lives in nearby Lipizzaner Fields, said: ‘The noise has got so bad now we can’t even sit in our garden and the traffic wakes us up in the morning.
‘When we bought our house we paid £3,000 to Winchester Council for Whiteley Way and Rookery Avenue to be opened up, so why has this not been done years later?’