Whiteley bus-only road set to remain closed despite protests

CROSS John Butter wants Yew Tree Drive opened.  Picture: Paul Jacobs (120188-1)
CROSS John Butter wants Yew Tree Drive opened. Picture: Paul Jacobs (120188-1)

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A BUS-only road will remain closed to residents in Whiteley – despite some motorists’ frustrations.

Yew Tree Drive is only open to buses and emergency vehicles.

Locals say it’s a waste because of the lack of buses using the route and because residents must drive further to get in and out of Whiteley.

But Hampshire County Council says it will only consider a trial opening of the road once consultation has been carried out for plans for 3,000 new homes in the north of the town.

John Butter, 70, from Clydesdale Road, said: ‘Everybody who I speak to says there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be opened now.

‘They open it when there are accidents and when there is snow.

‘It’s people like me that want to get out in the day.

‘I can’t see how it’s going to make anything worse.

‘I think they made a mistake in the first place.

‘If only 40 people a day want to use the road it would make a difference.’

A survey of residents’ views about opening Yew Tree Drive to vehicles in 2010 gave mixed views, with people in nearby areas fearing that it would clog up the streets and make traffic worse.

Councillor Mel Kendal, who’s in charge of transport issues at Hampshire County Council, said: ‘Although Winchester City Council has approved the pre-submission Winchester district local plan, this has not been out for consultation, or tested at a public inquiry.

‘Furthermore there has not been a planning application submitted for the potential development at North Whiteley.

‘Until this application has been submitted, we will not be in a position to determine how the bus gate could be used within the development proposals and consider whether a trial opening should take place.’

Fareham Borough Council does not support opening the road until Whiteley Way is completed.

Councillor Sean Woodward, council leader, said: ‘It must be opened to all vehicles once Whiteley Way is completed through to the A3051.

‘Then, there can be no question of it not being opened. I do understand some people’s frustrations.

‘It will happen, but as someone who lives in Whiteley, it is seldom mentioned.’