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THE long-running and heated debate about the location of a new bus stop in Eastcote came to a sudden conclusion last Wednesday when contractors arrived to paint it in while residents were at work.
Hillingdon Council had been trying to resolve the issue of siting a disabled-friendly bus stop in Southbourne Gardens for two years, but despite insisting the matter was 'at a stalemate' in January, the work is now done.
Local residents are angry because they have lost three parking spaces in a road where few houses have driveways or garages.
Chris Price, whose house is right by the new bus stop, said: "It is a nightmare of a road; we have been petitioning against this for two years. They haven't listened to a word we said. The bus will now pull in straight across a junction; it is only one yard away."
Mr Price, whose household has two cars, added: "The parking spaces were used by whoever could get the space first. Last night, one lady had to pull up on double yellow lines just to unload her shopping, and she parked 400 yards away because there is now no space."
But blind resident Ken Weinling, 62, has welcomed the move because he can now do his own shopping without a long walk into Eastcote town centre.
Mr Weinling used to miss the 398 service because drivers could not see him between parked cars, and he did not know when a bus was approaching. By making buses pull up to the pavement, Mr Weinling is now less likely to miss them.
"I was having to walk all the way to the community centre to get a bus to Eastcote because I couldn't use my nearest stop. My son has been doing my shopping because it took so long and I would be walking in the opposite direction to the bus route.
"The new stop is further away than the old one but it is disabled-friendly. The residents don't realise what it's like when you can't see and you have bad legs. Now they are upset because they have to walk to get into their cars."
Chris Brealy, lead petitioner against the move, said: "The residents do have sympathy with disabled people, but the bus is not being used enough."
The council is working with Transport for London (TfL) to make all bus stops comply with disability laws.
Jean Palmer, the council's director of planning, environment and community services said: "The council has worked hard to facilitate the necessary works that TfL is legally required to carry out to make this bus service accessible to all, including those with mobility problems.
"The plans were changed following a number of public meetings in an effort to find the best compromise, and these were supported by interested parties including the police, the bus service and TfL. The end result is a service that is fully accessible to all in Southbourne Gardens."
A bus stop has been created in Southbourne Gardens, leading to several fewer car parking spaces for residents. Chris Price, with son Joel, two, leads the unhappy householders Photo by Toby Vandevelde UX180211tvbustp03