Town councillors were not told that plate recognition cameras would be installed at a Devizes bus gate following complaints over a faulty bollards.

The change, brought in because the bollards keep getting stuck in the down position, means motorists who are not supposed to travel through the Keepers Road gate will likely have to cough up a penalty charge.

Town mayor, Chris Gay said: “Devizes Town Council has not been informed by Wiltshire Council of any plans to install car licence plate readers in the area of the bus bollards in Keepers Road.”

“These readers might be installed as a result of complaints that the bus bollards are not working properly.

“In Newman Road there are licence plate readers installed and in use. There is less of an advantage to cutting through the bus gates in the Keepers Road area.”

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Cllr Jennie Britten, who represents the ward said she hadn’t been informed either.

“It appears there have been some problems with these bollards not working correctly recently, and so there have been requests for licence reader machines to be installed.

The effectiveness of bus gate cameras is evident as a Freedom of Information request by the Gazette earlier this year found that the controversial Newman Road raked in £30,750 for the unitary council.

At the time, deputy council leader, Laura Mayes said: “Net income from parking charges, which would include PCNs, contributes towards the provision of public transport and concessionary fares”.

The bus gate was installed by Persimmon Homes to stop vehicles other than buses from using the route.

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Wiltshire Council cabinet member for transport Dr Mark McClelland, explained: “This bus gate at Keepers Road was installed as part of a housing development, however as the mechanism keeps failing the bollards are being left down, and all vehicles have had unrestricted access.

“The new system will help to ensure that the bus gate is used correctly and result in a reduction of people incorrectly using the route.

“The current system failures had unfortunately resulted in the bollards being left in locked down positions and were a cause for concern due to high traffic volumes.”

He added: “We apologise for any inconvenience increased noise or delays that the installation work may cause, but we look forward to a safer junction once the works are complete. We would like to thank residents for their patience while the works are completed.”

One commentator on Wiltshire Council’s Facebook said: “Another way for the council to make a few quid. Why don’t you just keep the post in place, so it only goes down when a bus gets to it?”

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Another, Darren Jennings wrote: “Shouldn’t Persimmon homes be paying for the installation as their original installation failed, I don’t see why it should be down to the council tax payer if it was a condition of the development?”

The camera will be installed on December 1 followed by engineering construction work two weeks later. Keepers Road will be closed for works on December 13 and 14.

Cabinet member for transport, Dr Mark McClelland said: “We are installing ANPR cameras at Keepers Gate, Devizes, to resolve a longstanding issue following concerns raised by residents about the failures within the current automated rising bollard system and high traffic usage.

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“This is similar to Newman Road in Devizes, where we implemented a CCTV camera enforcement system at the bus gate in 2020, to resolve recurring problems.

“The Wiltshire Councillor for the area, Cllr Laura Mayes, is aware of, and fully supports this scheme, having been involved in this issue for a number of years.

“We informed stakeholders of this proposed change, when the legal Traffic Regulation Order went out for advertisement and consultation in March/April 2020, to which no comments were received.

“We will be distributing a residents newsletter later this week to stakeholders including Devizes Town Council, as well as on site to those directly affected by the works, informing them of the forthcoming works at this site.”