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Vehicles damaged by rising bollards at Newbury Racecourse

Racecourse refuses to admit liability and blame driver error

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

Contact:

01635 886632

Vehicles damaged by rising bollards at Newbury Racecourse

AT least 12 cars have been badly damaged or written off in the past five months by rising bollards at Racecourse Road in Newbury.

Newbury Racecourse is refusing to admit liability and says motorists are ignoring the warning signs, but furious motorists claim the bollards are faulty.

The bollards were installed next to the Rocking Horse Nursery, preventing access to and from the Stroud Green end of the development, although gym members and racecourse vehicles are allowed through.

Members of Nuffield Health have permission to access the gym via the bollards, which are meant to lower using automatic number plate recognition.

However, two gym members have contacted the Newbury Weekly News in the past week to complain that they had suffered injury or had their vehicles written off.

Vicky Lee, from Wash Common, was driving her BMW X5 out of the gym when a bollard hit her car.

She said: “The bollard came up with such force that I hit my head on the roof and was concussed. The impact also caused me to bite my tongue and the airbag to go off.

“I went to see a doctor and then had a CT scan, which confirmed I had swelling on the brain.

“Apparently, three weeks ago the bollards hit a car being driven by a pregnant woman and a security guard told me that mine had been the 12th incident since May 3.

“How many more people are going to be seriously hurt before something is done?”

Another Nuffield Health member, Clare Willsher, from Newbury, said: “The racecourse are trying to say it is driver error but we are registered members of the gym and my au pair, who was driving the car, was waved across by a security guard.

“The bollard came up as he was driving through and has caused £3,500 of damage to the engine and written my car off.

“There must be a problem with the bollards if it keeps happening to people.

“I have had to buy another car now so I can get to work and am having to rely on friends and family to get my children to school.

“And because the racecourse are disputing liability it hasn’t been resolved.”

Greenham district councillor Billy Drummond (Lib Dem) said: “I’ve heard the latest number [of incidents] is 12.  

“It is private land and there is not a lot I can do apart from putting pressure on West Berkshire Council. I doubt the racecourse are going to do anything about it.

“I remember this used to happen in Bartholomew Street quite regularly years ago before they sorted the problem.”

A spokesman for Newbury Racecourse, Andy Clifton, said: “Newbury Racecourse is committed to fulfilling all of its obligations contained in the planning consent for the racecourse development.

“We share the frustration of residents that there have been a number of teething problems with the introduction of the bollards on Racecourse Road, in line with that planning approval, almost all of which have been caused by unauthorised vehicles trying to get through the bollards or drivers ignoring the traffic light system or the instructions of our traffic control staff in attendance.

“We are working hard with our suppliers to reduce the downtime to an absolute minimum.”   

When asked whether there was a problem with the barriers or whether the racecourse accepted any liability, Mr Clifton declined to comment.

A message to members in the Nuffield Health gym reads: “The new ‘automatic’ bollards at the racecourse entrance are still not working as they should.

“Not a direct responsibility of the gym but still frustrating at times.

“Following significant teething problems with the initial bollard instillation, the racecourse are now undertaking upgrades to a much higher specification.

“They are also moving the sensors to ensure that the number plate recognition functions properly.

“The work is continuing on this and once the system has been properly tested the bollards will go live. All existing car registration details will be moved to the new system.

“To avoid delays once the bollards are operational, please keep your membership card to hand when driving in.”

The issue was due to be discussed at a Greenham Parish Council meeting last night (Wednesday).

n Have you experienced a problem with the rising bollards? Email dan.cooper@newburynews.co.uk

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Article comments

  • boris

    18/11/2016 - 21:09

    Because of the absolute mess Newbury is in ie boundary rd closed for longer than Brunel took to build the railway London to bristol the 339 is squeezed to one lane with nobody working on it perhaps Newbury council should take a leaf out of the Japanese workers the road through the racecourse could be opened to light traffic no hgv obviously but i forgot health and safety but a bus does run down that road I also forgot newbury district council could not organise the proverbial p..s up in a brewery planning flipping joke!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  • Qwerty123

    15/11/2016 - 15:03

    I live at the Racecourse and it never ceases to amaze me how ignorant and careless some drivers can be. There are 8 WARNINGS as you enter from Stroud Green that there is no unauthorised access unless you are going to the gym/nursey, and also warnings that you are risking damage to your vehicle. We have heard numerous drivers go into the bollards, who are obviously driving at speed judging from the noise (well above the 10mph speed limit) and have seen others tailgate trying to get across. Those that are registered are fully aware that you have to approach slowly, and wait for the light to go green and for the bollard to go down before you go across. The attendants are only waving people across when the bollards have not been working (usually due to someone having driven into them). The amount of abuse that they are having to put up with ridiculous. Also a brilliant comment from the NWN '....when a bollard hit her car.' How exactly does a stationary object manage to hit a moving car?

    Reply

    • redders

      15/11/2016 - 17:05

      I'm sure you always drive at 10mph down that road... The point is the bollard situation is absolutely dire - the number plate recognition barely EVER works and there's nearly always a guy standing there either manually checking a long list of authorised plates, or just waving people through. A bollard *can* hit a car because it's a rising bollard, so its' not stationary is it?

      Reply

  • Viciousandy

    15/11/2016 - 14:02

    And, in addition and with all due respect, if an 'elderly gentleman' is incapable of seeing a bollard in the middle of the road - which people are queuing up to drive through - then they shouldn't be on the road in the first place.

    Reply

  • Viciousandy

    15/11/2016 - 14:02

    In response to the previous comment: The reason the bollards are so frequently 'out of action' is because people keep breaking them by driving their cars into them at force. They ignore the huge warning signs and tailgate the driver in front when the light goes green. I use this route every day (gym member) and have lost count of the number of times I've driven past the guys repairing the bollards, only to drive the other way just a few hours later and some pillock has already driven into it again! A few weeks ago, I was sat behind a guy in a white Fiesta who tailgated the drive in front when the light had gone green (it was for them, fool) and the abuse he started yelling at the attendant when he accelerated his car into the rising bollard was absolutely shocking. "It was green, it was GREEN!", he was hysterically shouting at the poor guy in the hi-vis jacket (who was half his size BTW). He obviously felt physically threatened and just walked away. Fair play to him.

    Reply

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