Fareham Borough Council leader hits back at ambulance trust over road bollards

CONCERN Councillor Sean Woodward
CONCERN Councillor Sean Woodward
The incident took place on Friday

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A COUNCIL leader has hit back at ambulance bosses over whether a road should be opened to all traffic.

South Central Ambulance Service had called for electronically-activated bollards at the junction of Yew Tree Drive and Botley Road in Whiteley to be permanently lowered.

The bollards are only supposed to open for buses and emergency vehicles equipped with a special transponder device – which automatically raises the bollards.

But not all emergency vehicles have had one on board when answering a 999 call.

As reported in The News, the service claimed that the bollards made their job difficult and had on occasion led to ambulances having to take a three-mile diversion when dealing with emergency calls.

But Fareham council leader Cllr Sean Woodward, who himself lives close to Yew Tree Drive, said: ‘I have had a number of residents contact me very concerned about ambulances not being able to get through.

‘When I have explained the situation to them, they tell me it’s a scandalous state of affairs.

‘The fact is that there is a major training issue here for the ambulance service.

‘They were asked when the bus gate was installed how many hand-held transponders – not vehicle fitted ones as that was felt to be too inflexible – they required so that every ambulance that was likely to need access would have one.

‘They asked for, and were supplied with, 60.

‘They also have a telephone number so that if the worst happens the bollards can be dropped remotely.

‘The nearby doctors’ surgery also has a transponder.’

It comes as Burridge and Swanwick Residents’ Association has started a petition demanding the bollards stay up.

The last survey by Hampshire County Council showed a split in opinion, those living on the Whiteley side were strongly in favour of opening the junction and those on the Burridge side wanted to keep the road as it is.

Those against the opening are concerned that Yew Tree Drive will become a rat-run if it is open to all.

Whiteley Parish Council is also running a petition calling for the permanent opening of the road, which now has 1,400 names on it.