POOLE Park should remain open, according to the majority of residents who took part in a major survey. 

No decision has been made on whether the Whitecliff Gate entrance and exit should be open or closed to motor traffic yet – that will ultimately be decided by BCP Council’s cabinet. 

However, a report by BCP Council's strategic lead for greenspace Martin Whitchurch has recommended to the cabinet to keep it closed.

This is despite 63 per cent of the 5,000-strong residents who responded to a consultation wanting to keep it open. 

Those in favour of keeping it closed to traffic made up of 36 per cent of the respondents and just one per cent had neutral views. 

Bob Lister, a lead campaigner of the Leave Poole Park Alone group, said it was “fantastic news” that the majority wanted to keep it open and called on the council to re-open the gates. 

Bournemouth Echo: Protesters against the closureProtesters against the closure (Image: Daily Echo)

He said: “We’ve all seen the bus getting stuck there, this chaos is every day. The people have decided and the council should listen and open it up straight away.” 

Cabinet member for the environment Andy Hadley said the council will take the consultation results “seriously”, stressing it is “vital” to make the correct decision later this month. 

The results will be discussed and scrutinised at two council meetings: the environment and place overview and scrutiny on May 15 and by the cabinet on May 22. 

A four week consultation opened on the closure back in January, when the council closed the gates to passing vehicles. 

This would prove controversial to a lot of residents, who regularly attended protests outside the gates along with Poole MP Sir Robert Syms. 

Bournemouth Echo: Bob ListerBob Lister (Image: Daily Echo)

Ahead of the two meetings, Cllr Hadley said: “Since the consultation closed, we’ve taken the time to investigate the views that have been raised by those on all sides of the debate. 

“Consultations are not referendums though, and it’s right that we have a full discussion on how we wish the park to be now, and for future generations. 

“We will be using the information from the consultation, alongside other data, to inform our approach during these two council meetings and ensure that all the evidence, alongside the views given by residents, is carefully considered.” 

According to the council, the data suggests that closing the Whitecliff Road entrance resulted in about a  50 per cent drop in traffic in the park and a 2 per cent rise in traffic along Parkstone Road. 

Public Health Dorset has expressed its support for the permanent closure “as this will contribute to creating an environment that encourages physical activity such as walking”. 

A breakdown of the consultation results can be found on BCP Council’s website.