» Mu­sic protest planned over road changes

Gloucestershire Echo - - FRONT PAGE - By CONOR GOGARTY

FUNK mu­sic will be blared next to coun­cil of­fices in protest at the clo­sure of Chel­tenham’s Boots Cor­ner.

The event will be held out­side Chel­tenham Bor­ough Coun­cil’s Mu­nic­i­pal Of­fices in the Prom­e­nade at noon on Fri­day, Novem­ber 2.

The cam­paign’s Face­book page says 49 peo­ple are ‘go­ing’ and 395 are ‘in­ter­ested’ in at­tend­ing.

It was or­gan­ised by 37 Chel­tenham De­liv­eroo drivers who say they have strug­gled to nav­i­gate the area since Boots Cor­ner shut to gen­eral through traf­fic in June.

The protest’s leader is Rob Chan­dler, 30, who said: “We will be mak­ing some noise out­side the coun­cil of­fices.

“I will play mu­sic from the soundsys­tem in my van and peo­ple are wel­come to bring in­stru­ments along and make some noise.

“We will prob­a­bly do some chants. We are there to play ‘pos­i­tive vibes’ mu­sic. It won’t be heavy me­tal.

“I don’t know the names of songs but we will be play­ing funk and funky house mu­sic to get peo­ple danc­ing in the street. It will be a peace­ful day of re­sis­tance.”

The event will cen­tre on the Prom­e­nade but could in­volve a march to Boots Cor­ner, Mr Chan­dler said.

He says drivers have been un­able to de­liver food from res­tau­rants in­clud­ing Holee Cow, Yo Sushi and KFC since the route’s trial clo­sure.

De­liv­eroo now has to use cy­clists to col­lect from those busi­nesses, he said.

“We ap­plied for de­liv­ery drivers to get per­mits from the coun­cil but that was un­suc­cess­ful, so we have tried to do it the nice way,” he said.

Mr Chan­dler, from near Eve­sham, added that he has racked up £180 in fines for breach­ing the traf­fic or­der “as an act of de­fi­ance” in July.

“It’s a mas­sive scam and it’s out-and­out day­light rob­bery,” he said.

He also hit out at the “ridicu­lous” lev­els of traf­fic and pol­lu­tion in Rod­ney Road, Am­brose Street and St Ge­orge’s Street.

A po­lice spokesman said: “The or­gan­iser of the protest has in­formed us that this is hap­pen­ing and is con­tact with a des­ig­nated po­lice li­ai­son of­fi­cer.

“We are not con­cerned about the event at this stage and will re­main in reg­u­lar con­tact with the or­gan­iser.”

Bor­ough coun­cil­lor An­drew Mckin­lay, cab­i­net mem­ber for de­vel­op­ment and safety, says: “We wel­come peo­ple’s views on the scheme.

“We’d like to re­mind peo­ple that this is a trial which will be re­viewed fol­low­ing for­mal pro­ce­dures.

“The scheme is go­ing very well, lots more peo­ple are us­ing the high street and peo­ple are clearly en­joy­ing the space around Boots Cor­ner.

“Peo­ple are now mov­ing freely across a road that was dom­i­nated by ve­hi­cles, and we’re start­ing to get some solid ev­i­dence to sup­port this.

“It would be a ma­jor back­wards step to re­verse the scheme and al­low ve­hi­cles to once again own the space.”

De­liv­eroo was ap­proached for com­ment.

I will play mu­sic from the soundsys­tem in my van and peo­ple are wel­come to bring in­stru­ments along and make some noise.

Rob Chan­dler

Pic­ture: Rose­mary Watts

Rob Chan­dler near Boots Cor­ner

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