Enough is enough. The closure of Boots Corner has been a serious mistake, and it should be reversed before more damage is done.
I should be clear: I have never supported this scheme. Back in 2014 before I was elected I objected to it, saying that wrapping a tourniquet round such a key arterial route would shunt traffic into residential rat-runs. Many residents supported that view, and it was people power at a key meeting in the Town Hall that led the Council to agree that the closure should be trialled first. The original plan was to make it permanent.
The warnings issued by so many people have been proved right. Every day I am deluged with complaints about the misery it is causing. Nurses struggle to get across town to the hospital or GPs’ surgeries. Mums have had to abandon after-school classes for their children, because they can’t get there in time. St George’s Street and the area around the bowling green is regularly gridlocked, causing disruption for motorists and small businesses like the Danceworks Studios. And that’s before you factor in the environmental damage of cars and lorries being forced through residential roads. Only this week a headteacher of a local school met me to point out the huge increase in traffic nearby, making drop-offs more dangerous.
The justifications for this scheme simply don’t add up. On air quality there are four areas in Cheltenham which breach air quality limits for nitrogen dioxide, including the junction at Hales Road and London Road for example, and have done since 2011. Boots Corner isn’t one of them and never has been. The cycling argument is also bogus, as buses and taxis still use the junction.
Meanwhile, the astroturf is unsightly and is only going to get worse after a few Saturday nights. Surely there are better ways to spend precious taxpayers’ money.
This has been a mistake. The Council should stop throwing good money after bad. It’s time to re-open Boots Corner.
You can sign the petition calling on Cheltenham Borough Council to abandon this unnecessary scheme: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/PCBZLJH