Hundreds back trial opening of Whiteley bus gate

BOLLARDS Yew Tree Drive
BOLLARDS Yew Tree Drive
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NEARLY 300 people have written to Fareham Borough Council calling for controversial road bollards to be lowered for a year-long trial.

For most of the past five years since they were installed, the bollards at the junction of Yew Tree Drive and Botley Road in Whiteley have only been accessible by buses and emergency vehicles using a transponder to lower them.

But in recent months the bollards have been lowered to everyone to allow better access to the north side of Whiteley while major works are taking place on the M27 around junction nine.

Hampshire County Council has applied to the borough council as the planning authority for them to stay down for a full year’s trial period.

Now 278 people have written backing the trial ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the planning committee. Only 13 people have written to object.

Cllr Mike Evans, chairman of the parish council said: ‘We are totally for it and so are the residents. I do agree with the measures Fareham Borough Council wants to put in place and we have no problems with them.

‘The main thing is that we want it open permanently and I think with the trial everyone will see the benefits.

‘I think a lot of people over on the Burridge side like it now as well, especially since the new shopping centre has opened up.’

Fareham has long-resisted opening the gate on the grounds that in its local plan, the junction was not to be fully opened until Whiteley Way, which will provide further access to the north of Whiteley, is completed.

But councillor Sean Woodward, leader of borough council, and Sarisbury’s ward councillor said: ‘I put my hands up to being the one who wrote the original policy, but things change – our local policy written 25 years ago is being reviewed and the extension of Whiteley way is now in sight. This application is a technicality. The bigger challenge is getting the mitigation in place, and I’m confident that can be done by the end of the year.

A recent survey by the county council asking residents and businesses in Whiteley, Burridge, Swanwick and Park Gate if they wanted a trial opening resulted in 83 per cent of the 2,664 responses supporting it.

An officer’s report recommends approving a 12-month trial subject to the installation of mitigation measures including physical speed restrictors, enforcement of parking restrictions on Yew Tree Drive and the installation of three speed limit reminder signs. It also notes ‘the council would retain control over the ability to restrict access through the bus gate’.