CONTROVERSIAL bollards that blocked an ambulance rushing to the aid of a sick youngster could be lowered permanently.

The road barriers have been lowered on Yew Tree Drive in Whiteley for more than a year now – but were previously only taken down for buses to pass as part of a traffic management system.

But a new three-month trial launched last month, if successful, could see the road opened freely to drivers indefinitely.

The road has divided opinion after it emerged paramedics had to be re-routed because they could not get through the barriers on an emergency call to a two-year-old suffering a suspected allergic reaction.

The bollards were immediately lowered as a result of the incident and, following this, remained down for many months last year to alleviate traffic during works on the M27 at junction 9, which ended last November.

They have remained down ever since ahead of the formal three-month trial, which allows all vehicles except HGVs.

The idea is to see if opening the route can work long term and follows £300,000 of work done to slow drivers using it.

Safety features including a toucan crossing, speed bumps, flashing speed limit signs, parking restrictions and imposing a 20mph speed limit, have been put in and around the area.

Surveys at the site will now look at the flow and speed of traffic, noise, the number of accidents and the effect on bus services.

The Daily Echo has previously told how treatment of Harry Rudge, from Whiteley, was delayed after an ambulance was directed to use the bus gate by its satellite navigation system last February.

Because they were not a local crew, they did not have the device to lower the bollards.

The ambulance service has since made changes to its satnavs, but this was the fourth incident of this kind in four years.

A consultation with more than 2,600 local residents and businesses last year found 83 per cent in favour of a trial and Cllr Sean Woodward, executive member for Economy, Transport and Environment for Hampshire County Council, agreed to the proposal last October.

Cllr Woodward said: “It will give local residents and businesses a realistic representation of what it would be like if the bus gate were open permanently, and I hope the concerns people had around safety will be alleviated through the measures being put in place.”