A meeting for Ethelburt Avenue residents was held in St George’s School on 30th November. Godfrey Collyer, Chairman of the Road Improvement Group set the scene. He emphasised that they did not undertake any work without consultation with residents. The purpose of the meeting was to find out if there was substantial support for the proposal to close Ethelburt Avenue to through traffic. He reminded everyone that in October 2003 a questionnaire had been distributed designed to identify people’s concerns and indicate work to be done. He believed that their improvements to the road surface had encouraged more rat running and this was likely to get worse when pedestrian controls were introduced on the Stoneham Lane/Bassett Green Road cross-roads. In discussion, it was alleged that the letter circulated to avenue residents had been scaremongering. The amount of rat-running was small and the number of pedestrian crossing at the lights was also small and therefore, it was claimed, not likely to have much effect. The author of the letter, John Caunt, rebutted the suggestion of bias, the intention was to carry out what they believed to be the wishes of the residents.
Attention was given to where the road would be closed. While the emergency services favoured closure at one end, the Road Improvement Group favoured the middle. There was concern that residents in the vicinity of the barrier would be troubled by vehicles turning round. One resident who formerly lived in a cul-de-sac said this had been a problem for him, while another said living in a cul-de-sac had been very pleasant. A resident who is also a police officer said that closing the road should reduce crime because perpetrators would not like to find their escape route cut off.

At the end of the meeting a vote was taken. On the question of whether there was actually a problem 15 said ‘Yes’ and 8 said ‘No’. On whether the road should be closed, 17 had returned the ‘Yes’ slip from the letter, while at the meeting 10 voted ‘Yes’ and 12 voted ‘No’.
In view of the need for an overwhelming majority of the residents to be in favour before proceeding, it looks as if this matter is dead for the time being.

Volunteers for the Avenue repair teams are always welcome. Please contact John Dixon, 8055 0064.

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