Boots' corner protesters stopped from collecting petition signatures
CAMPAIGNERS descended on to a shopping centre to collect signatures in protest of plans to change the one-way system through town.
But managers at Regent Arcade stopped them from gaining signatures against the changes to Boots' corner, saying it was due to an "insurance issue".
Protesters from the Cheltenham Residents Against Traffic Chaos group had planned their visit to the shopping centre to coincide with a consultation event on the changes.
The group, which had already collected nearly 1,000 names on a petition against the changes, is worried the proposed changes to roads in and around the town centre, which would include the pedestrianisation of Boots' corner, would lead to huge numbers of motorists using residential streets.
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Guy Woodcock, 52, from the group said he was "surprised" when they were told not to collect signatures.
"It's supposed to be a democracy," he said. But he added it would not stop them from making people aware of the issues before handing the petition to Cheltenham Borough Council to force a debate about the scheme's benefits.
He said: "We are approaching 1,000 signatures now and that started off just in St Luke's but when we realised that the plans did not only affect St Luke's but Gloucester Road and the whole of the town we widened our focus.
"We have been visiting doorsteps in Gloucester Road, for example, and about 98 per cent of people were really angry and they were not aware of the impact of the changes. It was the same story with people in Hewlett Road, Gloucester Place etc.
"If this goes ahead it will mean that all of the traffic that currently goes through Boots' corner will be going through residential areas."
Protester Adam Lillywhite, 49, of All Saint's, added: "This is going to cause gridlock on outer streets. There is no traffic logic to closing Boots' corner."
Keith Willoughby, operations manager at Regent Arcade, said: "The people that were demonstrating against this had not asked for permission to do so and it is private property. That's what it boils down to. They have to have the right public liability insurance. If they had come in before and asked for permission there probably would not have been an issue."