Putting the boot in Cam­paign­ers hit out at road change with noisy protest


FUNK mu­sic re­sounded, chants rang out and pro­test­ers blocked a bus at a demon­stra­tion against the Boots Cor­ner scheme.

More than 100 peo­ple de­scended on the Prom­e­nade in Chel­tenham at noon to cam­paign against the route’s clo­sure to gen­eral through traf­fic.

It was or­gan­ised by 37 Chel­tenham De­liv­eroo driv­ers who say they have strug­gled to nav­i­gate the area since the project started.

The protest’s leader Rob Chan­dler, 30, played loud mu­sic from a speaker next to Chel­tenham Bor­ough Coun­cil’s Mu­nic­i­pal Of­fices.

He led a march to Boots Cor­ner where cam­paign­ers formed a bar­rier in the mid­dle of Clarence Street at around 12.45pm to stop a Stage­coach bus pass­ing through.

The bus was sta­tion­ary for about a minute,un­til the protest’s po­lice li­ai­son of­fi­cer or­dered the demon­stra­tors to let it through.

Chel­tenham’s Con­ser­va­tive MP Alex Chalk gave a speech at the start of the protest, ask­ing: “What is the point of [the clo­sure]?”

He added: “All the jus­ti­fi­ca­tions that came for­ward crum­bled un­der the slight­est bit of cross-ex­am­i­na­tion.”

James Wellings, as­sis­tant man­ager at Clarence Street hair salon Chameleons, said the protest was “a bril­liant idea”.

He added: “I’m re­ally happy with the turnout. It’s mak­ing more and more peo­ple aware.

“The clo­sure is very detri­men­tal to the town, the el­derly and small busi­nesses. We will lose what makes Chel­tenham Chel­tenham.”

By 1.30pm the crowd had dwin­dled to around a dozen peo­ple, but Mr Chan­dler’s mu­sic con­tin­ued to blare next to his colour­ful de­liv­ery ve­hi­cle, the ‘Vibevan.’

In Oc­to­ber, Chel­tenham Bor­ough Coun­cil told res­i­dents it saw “record num­bers” of cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans travel through the route once the scheme be­gan ear­lier this year.

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 - which aims to put peo­ple be­fore traf­fic - is go­ing very well with peo­ple now mov­ing freely across a road that was dom­i­nated by ve­hi­cles. Ini­tial fig­ures have seen an 84 per cent in­crease in pedes­trian foot­fall and a 206% in­crease in bi­cy­cle us­age and peo­ple are clearly en­joy­ing the space around Boots Cor­ner.

“As part of the trial, traf­fic is be­ing mon­i­tored and traf­fic light changes have been made in re­sponse to pub­lic com­ments.

“We want peo­ple to share their views at gouces­ter­shire.gov.uk/ctp.”

Pic­ture: Anna Lyth­goe

The protest in the Prom­e­nade against Boots Cor­ner

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