Campaigners net permission for legal challenge over reopening of bridge closed under experimental traffic order

Campaigners have been granted permission for a judicial review challenge of BCP Council’s decision to reopen a single lane road under “Keyhole Bridge” in Poole to traffic.

In an update on its Crowd Justice crowdfunding page, the Keyhole Bridge Group said no date had been set for the full (substantive) hearing but the defendant local authority had until 18 August 2021 to lodge full grounds for resisting the claim.

In August 2020 Keyhole Bridge was closed to traffic under an experimental traffic order.

The Keyhole Bridge Group said: “The closure made the bridge safe for non-drivers and protected Poole Park from hundreds of cars an hour. It also reduced traffic passing Whitecliff and Baiter parks. Many people who had been unable to use the bridge were finally able to do so knowing they could do so in safety. It was a hugely popular move, and the majority of residents asked for it to remain closed. Yet in March 2021 the council reopened the bridge.”

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The group claimed that the council ran a consultation about the bridge but closed it before the advertised end date. “This was in breach of the basic principles of consultation, it deprived some residents of the chance to participate, and created an expectation which the council failed to meet. They also failed to release traffic data until after the consultation had closed and ignored air quality data which undermined their decision. There are many other problems with the decision but these are the key issues in our judicial review.”

Richard Buxton Solicitors and Piers Riley-Smith of Kings Chambers are acting for the Keyhole Bridge Group, which has raised more than £3,500 to its £15,000 stretch target.

BCP Council has been approached for comment.

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