Whiteley bus gate decision will be based on safety concerns

CLOSED Yew Tree Drive. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (120188-2)
CLOSED Yew Tree Drive. ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (120188-2)
From left, Charlotte Tipping from World Vision HQ, organiser of the lunch Sue Tinney, chef Sam Kemp, Alan Mak MP and Amy Johnson from the World Vision Advocacy Team 

Picture:  Malcolm Wells (170922-2862)

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A DECISION on whether a bus gate is permanently lowered will be down to safety issues and not the result of a survey, according to the leader of Fareham Borough Council.

Whiteley residents will soon have the opportunity to voice their opinions about a controversial bus gate on Yew Tree Drive in a survey conducted by Hampshire County Council.

If the survey receives a positive response, a trial will run from June to November when the bollards will be lowered to allow access for all vehicles.

Some Whiteley residents claim that permanently lowering the bollards, which are controlled by Hampshire County Council and automatically operated by a remote access key, would ease traffic congestion. However, leader of Fareham Borough Council Cllr Sean Woodward has said he would like to see traffic calming measures, heavy goods vehicles restrictions and pedestrian crossing improvements put in place before any potential trial takes place.

He also said that the council would be looking at introducing a 20mph limit on Yew Tree Drive and reviewing the current on-street parking situation there.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘I encourage all residents and businesses to engage in this consultation. Petitions and protests are all very well but individual written responses carry far more weight.

‘However, the final outcome will be based on highway safety issues rather than issues of convenience.’

Winchester City Council Lib Dem councillor Vivian Achwal has been campaigning for the last five years to have the bollards lowered.

She said: ‘Finally Hampshire County Council are listening to what Whiteley residents want. With the new shopping centre opening this spring, if the bollards are lowered it will make a big difference to all.’

When the bollards were lowered for three weeks in July, the council monitored usage of nearby roads and found 20 per cent rises in traffic on Botley Road North and South and an 11 per cent drop on Whiteley Way. Hampshire County Council will send out a survey to all homes and businesses in Whiteley and surrounding areas.