Residents' views 'ignored' in Bishop's Hull bus gates row

This is The West Country: Residents' views 'ignored' in Bishop's Hull bus gates row Residents' views 'ignored' in Bishop's Hull bus gates row

THE views of drivers forced to take a mile-long detour to avoid a ticket have been ignored, it was claimed this week.

People in Bishop’s Hull have to double back to avoid the bus gate on Mountway Road – and it appears their pleas to be exempt from fines have fallen on deaf ears.

A number plate recognition system allows buses and emergency vehicles to go through the gate, which replaced pop-up bollards last year, but other vehicles incur a £60 penalty.

Somerset County Council officers have recommended there should be no exemptions for any of the 300 nearby homes, despite a previous pledge to “understand local opinion”.

Parish council chairman Cllr Rod Porter said: “A 50-page report and appendices is heavily weighted against accepting any change and it seems the county doesn’t want to commit any funds or staff resources to progress the issue further.

“Unfortunately, unless there is a complete U-turn, the matter is done and dusted.”

He said the only consultation of local people took place well over a year ago.

County councillor Justine Baker accused the county of not listening to local opinion.

She added: “The bus gate has been impacting on many local residents and promise of a review with comments from many people to be ignored is extremely disappointing.”

District councillor Ian Morrell called the lack of consultation “at best inconsiderate, but closer to incompetence”.

A council spokesman said: “A recent review of the bus gate concluded that any changes to the existing situation would incur significant costs to the council as well as providing little or no benefit to the Taunton economy, congestion, road safety or the local community.

“The review follows a survey of residents living nearby which found that a third wanted to keep a full-time bus gate.

“The remainder expressed a preference for a part-time bus gate, but this has been rejected because of the high cost involved with making the road layout safe to cope with the extra traffic and the on-going costs to Somerset County Council associated with this option.

“The cabinet member will use the results of this review, as well as taking on board any other feedback, before making any decision.”

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