Veteran protester's Skoda moved in roadworks battle
A CHAPTER in a man's fight with council officials over roadworks has come to a close.
Veteran protester Ron Birch's Skoda was moved after paperwork was hastily completed to close the road on which it was parked.
Gloucestershire County Council only shut part of the pavement in Belle Vue Road, Stroud, meaning his car was legally parked.
But contractors needed to shift it before a piling rig arrived on the site of the new pupil referral centre being built there.
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He refused, and the rig was brought in without his car being moved. Then yesterday morning it was shifted, and the space taken up by contractors' machinery.
Mr Birch played key roles in successful campaigns to save trees in Stratford Park from the chop, and the Hill Paul building from being demolished.
He found a sign warning him to move his car by 8am on Wednesday, September 5, or it would be moved.
"It didn't say who it was from, nor on what legal grounds," he said. "So I took legal advice and posted a notice in my windscreen."
The road closure came into force on Thursday, to allow a "safe working area". He left the car and planned to park further away by noon yesterday but when he returned home he found it had been moved anyway.
Last month he and other residents forced the council not to go ahead with three-way traffic lights for the duration of the works but two-way for most of the time. They remained unhappy at arrangements for pedestrians.
The council said it worked hard on a solution to minimise disruption and after discussions with residents and businesses, a simpler two-way system was agreed, meaning less disruption on surrounding roads and reducing the impact on town centre trade.
Councillor Jackie Hall, cabinet member for education and skills, said: "We've worked really hard to listen to residents' concerns, including Mr Birch, and we've made significant changes to take their views into account. Any delays also result in significant cost to the taxpayer."