Gloucestershire

Cheltenham Boots Corner closure in red after £1.3m fines

Clarence Street, Cheltenham Image copyright Google
Image caption The section of Clarence Street is known locally as Boots Corner

A controversial road closure scheme in Cheltenham which was criticised for bringing in £1.3m in fines has cost taxpayers £160,000 more than the income it has generated.

Gloucestershire County Council promised to reinvest profits made from the trial into local transport.

But the council admitted more than £1.4m was used to introduce the restriction on private vehicles.

A spokesman said the plan was "more complicated than was envisaged".

The section of Clarence Street, known locally as Boots Corner, has been closed to private vehicles since June as part of the town's transport plan.

Nearly 48,000 fines have been issued since August to drivers ignoring the ban.

Gloucestershire County Council's Phillip Williams said it had committed to using any surplus "to improve Cheltenham's roads and pavements" once costs had been deducted.

But the project is still in the red, despite a £1.4m investment from the council and £600,000 of government money.

Mr Williams said there had been an "overall benefit" thanks to a "significant improvement in air quality".

But he said: "The project has gone on for longer and been more complicated than was envisaged."

He added 6,000 more people a week used buses and more people cycled and walked in the town since the start of the project.

The trial will run until December, despite nearly 6,000 people signing a petition against it, when a decision on whether the closure will be rolled out permanently will be made.

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