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Published on Tuesday 07 May 2024

A final decision on the future of the trial gate closure to motor vehicles in Poole Park will be made this month.

In two separate meetings in May, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council members will scrutinise a recommendation to make the closure at the Whitecliff Gate entrance/exit to the park permanent.

This democratic process follows a trial closure of this gate, which began in January.

On the same day, a four-week public consultation was also launched to understand the impact of this measure on park users.

The responses to this consultation, and further evidence collected during the trial closure, have fed into a report which also considers the strategic management of the park and the wider impact of a closure.

This report will now be discussed by councillors at two meetings – The Environment and Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 15 May and BCP Council Cabinet on 22 May.

Cllr Andy Hadley, BCP Council Portfolio Holder for Climate Response, Environment and Energy said:

“The high response rate to the consultation shows us that Poole Park is important to our residents and that’s why it’s vital that we make the right decision on this.

“We take the consultation results seriously and use them to try to understand what matters most to our residents. Since the consultation closed, we’ve taken the time to investigate the views that have been raised by those on all sides of the debate.

“Consultations are not referendums though, and it’s right that we have a full discussion on how we wish the park to be now, and for future generations.

“We will be using the information from the consultation, alongside other data, to inform our approach during these two council meetings and ensure that all the evidence, alongside the views given by residents, is carefully considered. “

Key details in the report include:

63% of responses to the consultation disagreed with the closure and 36% responses agreed, 1% of responses were neutral in their view. All the views given were read and contributed to the final consultation report.

Public Health Dorset supports the permanent closure of the gate, as this will contribute to creating an environment that encourages physical activity such as walking, play, and enjoyment of the natural environment, and a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the population who use the park.

The consultation revealed that older people and those with a disability were more likely to disagree with the proposal.

An independent review by the DOTS Disability Consultation and Advisory Service, and the council’s Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA) both suggest there is limited impact on any groups with protected characteristics.

Data suggests that closing the Whitecliff Road entrance to Poole Park resulted in approximately a 50% reduction in traffic in the park and a 2% increase in traffic along Parkstone Road.

Both meetings can be attended by members of the public and are available to watch live or later on BCP Council’s YouTube channel at:

The cabinet report is available to view here.

The final decision is expected to be made by Cabinet on the 22 May.

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