AMBULANCE service bosses have added their voice to calls for a road currently blocked by electronically-activated bollards to be opened up permanently.
The bollards at the junction of Yew Tree Drive and Botley Road in Whiteley are supposed to only open for buses and emergency vehicles equipped with a special device.
But ambulances on emergency calls without the device are having to make a three-mile detour that takes them through the notoriously busy junction nine of the M27.
South Central Ambulance spokesman James Keating-Wilkes said: ‘We often have problems here and obviously we aren’t able to get to emergencies as quickly as we would like.
‘The sat-navs take crews through this route and we have to direct them around from the control room using local knowledge.
‘It would make life a lot easier for us if the bollards were removed.’
Whiteley Parish Council has launched a petition asking for the road to be opened permanently, which has now been signed by more than 1,200 people.
Mike Evans, chairman of the parish council, said: ‘I know of a number of incidents with ambulances that can’t get through the bollards. There was one incident recently where an ambulance was called to a category one emergency in Coleridge Close.
‘They had been diverted from a lower category incident in Hedge End and their onboard equipment directed them via Botley Road and Yew Tree Drive, but they couldn’t get through.
‘It was rush hour and it took them a further 15-20 minutes to get around. The family involved were very upset.’
Martin Reeve, who has been fighting the planned closure and transfer of patients from the Locks Road Surgery in Locks Heath to Whiteley Surgery on Yew Tree Drive, said: ‘It would certainly save us having to make a rather tedious and torturous drive if that junction was opened. It’s still a three mile drive, but it’s definitely better than the current alternative.
‘I had asked if it was possible to have a link to the surgery car park from the Botley Road side, but was told this wasn’t possible.’
Fareham council leader Cllr Sean Woodward, the local councillor for both Fareham borough and the county council, has previously rejected calls for the road to be opened. He has said that the route will not be opened until Whiteley Way is completed to avoid Yew Tree Drive becoming a rat-run, and that many people living on the Burridge side were against it opening.
To see the petition go to change.org/petitions/yewtreedrive.