Plans to swap a bollard for an camera which photographs drivers' number plates in a street near Burton is “an accident waiting to happen”, councillors have claimed.
Councillors on Outwoods Parish Council have spoken out over plans to change a condition on a planning application for 246 houses at Red House Farm, in Lower Outwoods Road, which was submitted by
Davidsons Developments Ltd and Strata Homes (Yorkshire) Limited.
It has said in its application that the rising bollard to stop access to the development from Lower Outwoods Road, which was originally agreed as part of the application, would be too complex in terms of its installation and future maintenance.
Now they are asking for the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera, which will be connected to the Staffordshire County Council network. There is currently no site access from Lower Outwoods Road, and developers are aiming to keep this in place until the camera is installed and operating, then drivers who flaunt road restrictions would risk being fined.
The application to vary the plans has now been submitted to East Staffordshire Borough Council’s planning committee, stating that the camera is at the request of the highways authority.
Outwoods parish councillors have now raised concerns, saying they want the bollard instead because it would be something physical that people could see.
Parish council chairman Councillor John Anderson said: “The original outline planning application was not favoured but was eventually granted permission by the Planning Inspectorate through the planning appeal process. The outline plan approved at appeal included a rising bollard as a physical deterrent to vehicles wishing to take a short cut between Lower Outwoods Road and Reservoir Road. I believe the proposed bollard should remain as a physical barrier.
“The application mentions the cost of maintenance of a bollard but fails to mention maintenance of a camera system which I believe negates the argument. A camera could be prone to vandalism which would render it inoperative and necessitate expensive repairs. While the system was inoperative there would be no deterrent to vehicle movement.
“One interesting point worth mentioning is that if a bollard is too expensive to maintain, why was it used in the outline plan? At the time the outline plan was submitted, we believe this camera system was available.”
Councillor Rachael Anderson said that although the bollards in Burton town centre were decommissioned, she does not believe that this will happen here.
She said: “We realise the Burton High Street rising bollard and a similar bollard in Uttoxeter have been decommissioned due to them damaging vehicles that tailgate buses and other authorised vehicles.
“We do not believe the same problem would occur on this estate due to its location away from the town centre. Signage would be more visible too since it will not be competing with other street signage as in the town.
“Failure to prevent through traffic would be a public danger as Lower Outwoods Road is very steep and effectively single track due to parked vehicles.”
Councillor Bev Walker said: “After hearing about the application to change the access on Lower Outwoods Road for buses and emergency vehicles from a bollard to an ANPR camera I consulted with many local residents on Lower Outwoods Road, St George's Road and St Margret’s Road about the proposed change.
“The reaction was a definite no to the change as there would be no physical barrier to stop anyone driving through and the cameras can be disabled in seconds. ANPR will be an ineffective deterrent, making it a rat run and, as Lower Outwoods Road is virtually a single track road due to parked vehicles, will be an accident waiting to happen.
“The designated vehicles that are allowed will also struggle to get up or down the road safely in this situation.”