CAMPAIGNERS are furious after their petition against a showcase bus route wasn’t taken into consideration because it was submitted “at the wrong time”.
More than 1,900 traders and residents signed a petition against the showcase bus route proposal for Fishponds Road.
But they have since found out that it wasn’t taken into consideration when councillors gave the controversial work the go ahead..
That’s because it was submitted before the official consultation period started.
The council argues it has gone above and beyond the call of duty to take residents’ views into account on the scheme.
That didn’t stop the authority approving the work – which is part of the £78 million Greater Bristol Bus Network scheme – last week, despite ongoing objections.
Traders are concerned that losing parking spaces in the Fishponds shopping area will damage their business.
The council has made some changes to the proposals, but not enough for some.
Opponents of the scheme, which includes the Greater Fishponds Neighbourhood Partnership, are not happy.
Transport spokesman for the partnership group David Mock said: “I have just found out from the project manager of the GBBN team that the petition was ignored because it was submitted before the consultation process and the objection from the Neighbourhood Partnership was only given the same weight as any other individual objection. This consultation process is seriously flawed.
“The results of the consultation have been analysed by the project leader of the GBBN Team not someone impartial.
“Unsurprisingly he has chosen to dismiss or understate the strength of feeling against the bus lane and associated road modifications demonstrated during the consultation process.
“Promises have been broken and their plans remain largely unchanged from those made 18 months ago.”
The first phase of work started on Thursday and will involve changes to the Fishponds Road/Muller Road junction by Eastville Park over the next eight weeks.
Council spokeswoman Kate Hartas said: “The legal level of public consultation on schemes involving traffic regulation orders is very low – all that is required is that a notice is posted in the local newspaper inviting comments, support or objections within a 21 day period of ‘statutory consultation’.
“The council has also gone over and above the statutory minimum requirements in the statutory consultation, by re-opening the drop-in shop and writing to 8,000 households to alert them to the consultation period.
“The council is only allowed to consider submissions received as part of this process within the consultation period.
“The council received 105 formal objections to various elements of the traffic order. It also received eight letters of support and 13 mixed/neutral views.
“The council opened a local consultation drop-in shop and held the meetings as part of the informal consultation.”