Gloucestershire

Cheltenham's 'Boots Corner' to reopen after protests

Clarence Street, Cheltenham Image copyright Google
Image caption The section of Clarence Street is known locally as Boots Corner

A controversial road-closure scheme in Cheltenham has been overturned.

A section of Clarence Street, known locally as Boots Corner, has been closed to private vehicles since June 2018 as part of the town's transport plan.

But Gloucestershire County Council is reopening it after criticism from local people and business owners.

Last May it was revealed the scheme had cost taxpayers £160,000 more than the income it had generated.

The decision to reopen it was supported unanimously by councillors at a meeting to review the trial.

Nearly 6,000 people had signed a petition against it, claiming businesses were suffering and surrounding residential streets becoming clogged with traffic.

Among the opponents was Alex Chalk, the town's re-elected MP, who said the scheme was "the solution to a problem that doesn't exist".

Before the trial closure started last year, the route was commonly used to travel from the south to the north of the town with more than 10,000 cars using the route daily.

Supporters had claimed there had been a "significant improvement in air quality" since it was implemented.

Councillor Andrew McKinlay, cabinet member for development and safety, told an earlier meeting: ''We are clearly very disappointed.

"Thousands of vehicles will return to the town centre each day, severing the high street and we would urge the county council to consider the impact this decision will have on their climate change commitment and the steps they will need to take to address this."

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