What is an ETRO?

    Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) are the legal means for introducing measures which govern or restrict the use of public roads. Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETROs) are used to introduce changes on a trial basis to ascertain how a scheme works in practice without committing to make them permanent. ETROs can be in place for a maximum period of 18 months, during which time the council is able to assess impacts and make modifications.

    What existing restrictions are there?

    Keyhole Bridge

    A width restriction of 6 foot-0 inches along with a hazard warning denoting a maximum available headroom of 7 foot-6 inches is in place at the bridge. They are designed to protect the railway bridge and avoid collisions.

    Upright signs with red circles are present on both approaches to the bridge. They give orders and indicate regulatory requirements for moving traffic, meaning that a Traffic Regulation Order applies. The signs signify that those vehicles exceeding the width indicated are prohibited from passing.  

    Moving Traffic Regulation Orders are legally enforceable by the relevant Police Constabulary. 

    Poole Park

    The roads within Poole Park are closed to motorised vehicles between 06:00 and 10:00 Mondays to Saturdays.

    What was the outcome of the legal action pursued against the council?

    The Keyhole Bridge User Safety Group pursued legal action to challenge the council’s decision to remove the ETRO. They submitted a claim to the High Court of Justice (Queen’s Bench Division, Planning Court) for a judicial review. 

    The High Court ordered that the Council:

    • undertake a further period of non-statutory consultation for 40-days
    • conduct another review after this consultation, with the Cabinet to consider whether the ETRO should be made permanent, retained with minor alterations or removed; and
    • pay the Claimant’s costs.  

    What is the High Court, the Queen’s Bench Division and the Planning Court?

    Further information explaining the role of the High Court and its different functions is available on the following webpages:





    What is the timeline of events?

    April to May 2020

    • All roads within Poole Park were closed during the first National Lockdown.
    • The decision was made following a request by Dorset Police to do so owing to the large number of people using the park and the need to encourage compliance with COVID restrictions. 

    May to July 2020

    • Poole Park was closed at the Seldown entrance to enable access improvement works to take place. The road was reopened on 25 July 2020. 
    • Further information can be found on the Poole Park Access Improvement updates published on week 14 and week 16.  

    19 August 2020

    • Whitecliff Road at Keyhole Bridge was formally closed to motor vehicles for a trial period.

    August 2020 – January 2021

    • An initial consultation took place in which the public were able to submit formal representation (including objections) and / or complete an Online Questionnaire.
    • Originally, this consultation was scheduled to last for 6 months from 7 August 2021 until 23:59 on Sunday 21 February 2021. However, this was curtailed on 15 January 2021.

    13 October 2020 – 25 November 2020

    • The section of road in Poole Park through to the Whitecliff Road / Twemlow Avenue junction was closed to install new kerbs and surfaces.
    • Further information can be found on the Poole Park Access Improvement updates published on week 30 and week 32.

    15 October 2020

    • The Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and Transport and the Leader of the Council announced a review of temporary active travel measures.
    • They indicated that Keyhole Bridge would be re-opened to coincide with the completion of the road resurfacing in Poole Park (listed above).

    December 2020

    • Final Access Improvement works were undertaken within Poole Park and involved:
      ­ - Installing remaining street furniture (bollards, cycle stands, and lighting columns);
      - ­ Planting new trees;
      - ­ Maintenance of existing trees; and
      ­ - Resurfacing at the East Gate Entrance. This required a temporary road closure, meaning traffic could not enter the park from this point.
    • More information can be found on the Poole Park Access Improvement news updates published in December 2020

    15 January 2021

    • Following a review of all consultation responses received up to this point, plus discussions with Ward Councillors, the Portfolio Holder (Cabinet Member) for Sustainability and Transport published his draft decision to revoke the ETRO and remove the road closure.

    15 January 2021 – 22 January 2021

    • A 5-day engagement period was held when the public and interested parties had an opportunity to comment on the proposed decision via an online survey.
    • Altogether, 423 responses were received alongside a further 15 submissions via email.
    • All responses were provided to the Portfolio Holder for consideration.

    28 January 2021

    • The Portfolio Holder published his final decision, which confirmed the draft decision.
    • The decision report along with accompanying material which helped inform it (such as findings from the initial consultation) is available here.

    28 January 2021 – 04 February 2021

    • In accordance with the Council’s constitution, the final decision was subject to a period of ‘call-in’ by Councillors. The decision was ‘called in’ for further consideration.

    1 March 2021

    • The final decision was considered at a meeting of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Board under Item 157. Meetings are streamed on YouTube so they can be watched live or afterwards on-demand. A recording of the meeting and the published minutes is available here (the scheme was discussed from 00:01:50 in the broadcast until 02:21:50).
    • A motion to refer the decision back to Cabinet for them to consider an extension to the scheme was not carried, meaning that the final decision could be implemented as proposed and the ETRO was formally revoked.

    March 2021

    • Following the meeting of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Board, the ETRO was removed.

    July 2021

    • Campaigners under the name ‘Keyhole Bridge User Safety Group’ submitted a claim to the High Court for a judicial review.
    • On 14 July, the High Court granted permission for the group to proceed with their claim.   

    6 October 2021

    • A hearing was held in the High Court.

    18 November 2021

    • The High Court published its ruling.
    • A news article was issued on the Council webpage commenting on the ruling.

    28 February to 8 April 2022

    • A further 40-day consultation to inform, along with the existing information from the initial consultation exercise, a decision as to what changes to the road (if any) should be implemented.