I in­sist on a pub­lic in­quiry Call after Boots Cor­ner fine

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - By CONOR GOG­A­RTY

AMAN has de­manded a “full pub­lic in­quiry” after he was fined for driv­ing through Boots Cor­ner.

Tom Bowhill con­sid­ers any tick­ets for breach­ing the route’s clo­sure to be in­valid, be­cause he says large ve­hi­cles of­ten block driv­ers from see­ing signs in­di­cat­ing the re­stric­tion.

The 75-year-old, of Charl­ton Kings, was handed a £30 fine for us­ing the route on Oc­to­ber 17 - but he has no in­ten­tion of pay­ing it.

“I am so in­censed by this, I in­sist on a full pub­lic in­quiry by Chel­tenham Bor­ough Coun­cil, which I am go­ing to record,” he said.

A spokesman for the coun­cil con­firmed it will not hold a pub­lic in­quiry into Mr Bowhill’s ticket.

Mr Bowhill says he can’t re­mem­ber why he drove into Chel­tenham town cen­tre on Oc­to­ber 17.

“I went to get a bus from Charl­ton Kings into town, but it didn’t turn up and the next one didn’t ei­ther, so I thought I would take my car,” he added.

“There were two el­derly peo­ple at the bus stop so I gave them a lift. I was be­ing so­cially con­sid­er­ate.”

He claims he did not see any signs sug­gest­ing Boots Cor­ner was closed be­fore he drove through it.

After re­ceiv­ing his ticket, Mr Bowhill vis­ited the area again and con­cluded his view of the signs must have been ob­scured by large ve­hi­cles.

“I have been head­hunted five times to do turn­arounds in in­dus­try, so I am no mug,” he said. “The sig­nage is ab­so­lutely dis­grace­ful.

“If there is a bus, tran­sit van or even a large taxi go­ing by, you can’t see the signs in Royal Well Road or Clarence Street.”

Mr Bowhill has started build­ing a dossier of pho­to­graphic ev­i­dence show­ing buses in front of the signs.

The coun­cil is­sued more than 13,000 fines for breaches of the clo­sure in the first six weeks of the project, the Glouces­ter­shire Echo re­vealed in Oc­to­ber.

The coun­cil told the Echo it will not hold a pub­lic in­quiry - but Mr Bowhill says he is not a man who likes to take no for an an­swer.

“Back in the 1970s I worked in Roe­hamp­ton and had 1,000 crafts­men mak­ing ar­ti­fi­cial limbs un­der my watch,” he said.

“I was prin­ci­pal ne­go­tia­tor when there were strikes. I am the loveli­est guy go­ing, but I can be hard­nosed.”

Speak­ing about a re­cent visit to Chel­tenham town cen­tre, he added: “I went to town with my lady friend.

“She wanted to go to Pri­mark and I didn’t.

“So I stood and watched Boots Cor­ner as about 12 cars went through in 10 min­utes, at about noon on a Satur­day.”

Mr Bowhill says the “chaos” in­cluded a woman try­ing to U-turn in the oneway sys­tem to avoid driv­ing through Boots Cor­ner.

He thinks the Boots Cor­ner project is just a “cash cow” for the coun­cil.

Coun­cil­lor An­drew Mckin­lay, cab­i­net mem­ber for devel­op­ment and safety, said: “The changes at Boots Cor­ner are a trial and we will con­tinue to mon­i­tor the scheme with the county coun­cil.

“To date 812 re­sponses to the trial have been re­ceived, how­ever just 385 of these are for­mal rep­re­sen­ta­tions.

“We’d en­cour­age every­one to give us their feed­back through the county coun­cil’s web­site so that it can be taken into con­sid­er­a­tion as part of the re­view (glouces­ter­shire.gov.uk/ctp ).

“To en­sure that driv­ers were aware of the changes, ad­di­tional tem­po­rary sig­nage and bol­lards were in place in Royal Well Road from early Au­gust.”

Those tem­po­rary in­stal­la­tions were re­moved last month be­cause they were only a “short-term mea­sure”, Mr Mckin­lay said. conor.gog­a­[email protected]­plc.com

Pic­ture: Mikal Ludlow Pho­tog­ra­phy

Tom Bowhill be­lieves the sig­nage and changes to the one way sys­tem through Chel­tenham haven’t been prop­erly thought out

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