A RESIDENT caused a stir when he refused to remove his car from a restricted road while work gets underway to build a new education centre in Stroud.
Gloucestershire County Council had hoped to fence-off a 60-metre stretch of footpath and parking bays along Belle Vue Road from today, Thursday, September 6, to enable contractors to begin work on a new £1.2 million pupil referral centre.
But retired homeowner Ron Birch, who lives just a stone’s throw from the construction site at the junction with Belle Vue Road and Ryeleaze Road, has refused to shift his green Skoda from the kerbside – leaving barely enough room for workers to begin piling.
Mr Birch, who has lived in Belle Vue Road for more than 30 years, said he was protesting at the council’s failure to inform residents of the road closure, which has been authorised to remain in place for up to 18 months.
But GCC said it had carried out its legal obligation by twice advertising temporary closure notices in newspapers on August 8 and August 22.
"I have to accept that because I have no legal knowledge to dispute it," said Mr Birch, who added that he was taking legal advice over the issue.
"It is bullying and I was always taught to stand up to that."
Residents in Belle Vue Road have protested against the road closure ever since notice of a temporary lights system was revealed last month.
Contractors EG Carter is expected to remain on site until early June next year.
Cllr Jackie Hall, cabinet member for education and skills at GCC, said: "We have worked really hard to listen to residents’ concerns, including Mr Birch, and we have made significant changes to take their views into account.
"Mr Birch’s action is delaying a really important project to improve education for some of the most vulnerable children in Stroud.
"Any delays also result in significant cost to the taxpayer."
SEE NEXT WEEK’S SNJ FOR AN UPDATE ON THIS STORY