Road closure blocks MOT business

Road closure closes MOT Testing Station

Gloucestershire MOT Test Station forced to close for a week

Above: MOT Testing Station owner Alan Holder faces the prospect of losing thousands of pounds after the County Council announced, without any prior consultation that access to his business Discount Tyres, will be restricted to between 9.30am and 3.30pm between 26th February and 5th March.
Picture: GloucestershireLive

In an article in the GloucestershireLive local paper it has been reported that an MOT Testing Station, Discount Tyres, located in Barton in Gloucestershire, will be unable to gain access to the roads for six days between 9.30am and 3.30pm due to road re-surfacing work.

Discount Tyres owner 73 year old Alan Holder has expressed concern that this could cost his business between £1,500 and £2,000 a day during the six day closure – but he will still have to pay his staff’s wages. Not only that, he also noted that it will apply to a further eight industrial units in another nearby street.

Holden told Samual Port, GloucesterLive‘s journalist who interviewed him, that “It’s going to be kept open for blue light services but not for us. It’s going to be closed between 9.30am and 3.30pm which is our normal business hours, in effect they’re stopping me from entering my premises for six days”, and added, “Unless someone’s going to give me all the money that I’m going to lose – which I very much doubt – I’m not very happy at all”.

Holden also made the point that many local residents will also be unable to leave or enter by car to access their own homes.

He is very concerned for many of his customers who have already booked to have their car MOT Tested between 26th February and March 5th when the road will be closed but has been unable to get hold of some of them to let them know about the problem.

“£150m highways investment”

A spokesperson for the local County Council doing the work told Samual Port: “We know road closures can be inconvenient for residents and businesses and we appreciate their understanding while we carry out this essential work. As part of our £150m highways investment, the resurfacing will take place from 26th February to 5th March during the quieter hours of 9:30am to 3:30pm… we contacted all local businesses on February 3 to notify them of the planned works. We suggest Discount Tyres ask their customers wherever possible to drop off their vehicle before 9.30am and pick up after 3.30pm. Road access will be restricted during the works, however our crews will aim to accommodate vehicle movement only if safe and practical to do so; but would advise drivers to allow extra time in case of a delay.”

But how can Holder carry out MOT road tests throughout the day with the road closed preventing customers with timed MOT slots from accessing the Testing Station? The situation is quite bizarre, and a local City Councillor agrees, Usman Bhaiia told the local reporter,

“The county council should do the works gradually, it will make it easier for the customers, the business people and the road users. We need resurfacing for the whole area so hopefully this is a blessing in disguise and they go ahead with the work but they need to keep one lane open for the businesses.”

Which makes a good point, in most areas road works are completed on different sides of the road at different times with traffic lights to at least allow one lane to remain open – or alternatively, why not do the work overnight?

We spoke to Alan Holder who was at his wit’s end. He said, “I have completely exhausted myself with all the e-mails and now I’ve given up. I suggested lots of different ways the work could have been done, but all I ever get is that there’s now a so called ‘FTO order’ on the road which means it’s no longer a public highway so can’t be used as a road”.

Editor’s comment

This seems very strange given that Testing Stations have a legal obligation to carry out Testing as agents of the Government for the DVSA; which includes the further legal obligation to be able to road test a vehicle in some circumstances, and a mandatory requirement to road test the brakes using a decelerometer for a significant minority of vehicles where for technical reasons the brakes can only be tested whilst the vehicle is being driven.

Another issue we raised was that there was no consultation at all by the local council with local residents and businesses affected by the road closure – that too may be a legal requirement that the council seem to have ignored. Holder only first heard about it when he received a formal document notifying him that the road would be closed for six days.

We have sent a query to the County Council raising these potential legal issue, and will keep our website visitors up to date as soon as we receive their response. In the meantime Alan Holder will be doing the best that he can to work around the problems caused by the closure of the road.

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