Traffic on Basford Bank heading for the A500 roundabout and A53 Etruria Road.
Traffic on Basford Bank heading for the A500 roundabout junction. Photo: Chris Peach/i-creation.

Campaign to encourage change of heart on bus gate set to lead to ‘pragmatic’ solution that doesn’t penalise businesses 

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A potential change of plan for the Basford Bank Bus Gate has been welcomed by Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce. The organisation has been campaigning against the plan to install it on behalf of concerned businesses and members for more than 18 months. 

The Chamber has been calling for a more pragmatic approach to solving the issue of pollution at the busy interchange and has written to the Government on a number of occasions outlining the direct and knock-on traffic issues it would cause. 

It was backed up by a campaign in Daily Focus, spearheaded by an exclusive poll which found that 84 per cent of businesses thought the bus gate would have a detrimental effect on their business. 

Now, work on the scheme has been paused while councils develop an alternative proposal – which is believed to involve purchasing properties along the part of Basford Bank where the pollution is at its worst.

Declan Riddell, Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce

Policy Manager Declan Riddell, pictured above, said: “As a Chamber, we welcome the news that the local authorities are developing ‘an emerging alternative proposal’ to a bus gate at Etruria Road (Basford Bank).    

“We recognise the importance of improving air quality for our local residents but any solution has to be pragmatic and one which supports this objective, without penalising those who live and work in the area.   

“The imposition of a bus gate will create rat runs on neighbouring side streets and local businesses would find it more challenging to recruit and retain staff, who would be stuck in lengthy traffic queues at peak times of the working week. 

“We’ll look forward to receiving further updates on the emerging proposal and also developments in response to improving air quality in the area stretching from Fenton to Joiners Square and Hanley.” 

A joint statement from Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, and Staffordshire County Council, said: “As plans for a bus gate on Etruria Road became more detailed, we were concerned by the scale of the predicted traffic diversions and the impact this would have on many other side roads in the area, affecting the lives of hundreds of residents.   

“We recently shared an emerging alternative proposal with the UK Government that would avoid a bus gate being installed, which would also achieve the city and borough councils’ legal obligation to reduce pollution. 

“There is still a lot of work to be done to get a final plan completed and approved by the UK Government. 

“Work on the bus gate has now been paused while all three councils focus their efforts on completing a full business case for this alternative proposal.”  

Victoria Road, Fenton
Part of Victoria Road, in Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent, where the proposed Clean Air Zone would be located. Photo: Chris Peach/i-creation.

It is a second potential victory for the Chamber and the long-running Daily Focus campaign to look at alternative, common sense solutions to traffic pollution hotspots. 

Earlier this year Daily Focus reported that fresh plans were being drawn up to prevent the need for a Clean Air Zone on a stretch of Victoria Road in Fenton, which would have led to some vehicles being charged a daily fee for driving in it. 

Alternative proposal to bus gate welcomed by local businesswoman – read story here.

Nigel Pye

Experienced journalist with a 30-year career in the newspaper and PR industry and a proven record for breaking stories for the national and international press. Nigel is the Editor of Daily Focus and Head of Creative at i-creation. Other work includes scriptwriting, magazine and video production, crisis communications and TV and radio broadcasts.

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