POOLE Park's gates will remain closed following a unanimous vote by the council despite results from a public consultation calling for them to open.

BCP Council debated the controversial closure of the entrance/exit at Whitecliff Road and Twemlow Avenue at a cabinet meeting.

The gates were closed to vehicles as part of a four-week trial while a public consultation was launched.

However, the decision sparked extreme opinions from either side, with more than 5,000 people responding to the consultation.

A total of 63 per cent of respondents voted to keep the entrances open, 36 percent argued for it to remain closed and just one percent were neutral on the topic.

Members of the public shared their support, or outrage, at the cabinet meeting on May 22.

Tess Baker said BCP Council had “no right” to close the entrances.

"This is not democracy, and it is not acceptable," she said.

Lee Atkins said: "It is utterly disgusting what has been happening in and around Poole."

He added: "BCP had a consultation that showed the public wanting it open, but no, Cllr Hadley wants his way."

Sharon Hunt said her late father-in-law enjoyed the park in his frail final stages of his life.

"His last request was to be driven through the park."

She added: "Denying people this right is unfair and bordering on cruelty."

However, a BCP resident who was not named, said they are a wheelchair user and the “whole point of a park is stop and admire” and not as a drive through.

“It is not a McDonald’s,” they said.

Cllr Patrick Canavan said the handling of the consultation was “really clumsy” and reputational damage has been done to the authority.

Cllr Jude Butt also argued the consultation was “flawed” and called for it to be redone, with a decision to be made by full council.

However, the cabinet voted unanimously to keep the Whitecliff Road and Twemlow Avenue gates closed to vehicles.

Cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Andy Hadley, said he believes the council did a "thorough job" with understanding the views of the public and allowing time to discuss the pros and cons of the closure. 

He added: "Consultations are about finding out what people think about a decision or a decision that's planned to be taken, but it's not a vote."

Cllr Hadley said it is important no one feels excluded from the park and next steps will include disabled access and parking.