SHOCKED residents and councillors have accused BCP Council of “lacking vision” as the controversial Tatnam Road closure is reversed and will reopen to traffic.

BCP councillors have voted to reopen the road after a trialled closure, despite evidence from three schools in the area that the road closure had encouraged more pupils to cycle or scoot to school – up by 25 per cent in one case.

Tatnam Road, on the edge of Oakdale and Poole town, was ear-marked by council officers as one of the key routes for possible closure because a 20mph scheme had failed to slow traffic. Between 2017 and 2019 there had been 9 accidents dealt with by police.

One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “The schools made very constructive and forceful statements, only to be totally disregarded.

“The reason we got to this point was because the 20mph speed limit didn’t resolve the problem. Now they’re reopening the road, what are they going to do about the speeding and dangerous driving, just sit around and wait until someone is killed?

“It feels like they just wanted the issue to go away quickly but it won’t. They make all these statements about getting people out their cars and onto bikes, only to do something like this. There was just a complete lack of democracy and it’s truly shocking.”

Poole councillors who backed the closure also say the decision to reverse it is overtly political, led by Conservative councillors who do not live in the area.

Council leader Drew Mellor denies the claim. He told Wednesday’s cabinet meeting that although he could see the benefits of the closure, especially to residents in the road, the views of the wider public needed to be given greater weight.

He also said a consultation saw 80 per cent of respondents say they wanted the road to open.

The decision to shut the road is said to have resulted in longer journey times for some drivers and increased congestion, according to campaigners for the reopening.

Supporters, however, say the area is now safer for schoolchildren and the road itself is now more widely used by cyclists and pedestrians, with residents getting better sleep and clearer air.

Cllr Mike Greene, cabinet member for transport, told the cabinet that he stuck by his decision to make the closure order, but said it had been a finely balance decision, acknowledging that for some it did mean longer journey times and more air pollution in the wider area.

Poole councillor Mark Howell warned that the safety of children would be at risk by opening the road again. He said the move had been “a political ploy rather than based of proper assessment, or the desire to reflect the policy of the council.”