Calls for action after triple ambulance delay in Colley Gate

Thursday, 28 March 2024 17:20

By Martyn Smith, Local Democracy Reporter @

Residents in Colley Gate have raised concerns after a number of ambulances, travelling on blue lights, were delayed following work to ensure a building on Windmill Hill is structurally sound.

The main route into the estate via Highfield Road was closed after a police chase resulted in a car crashing into a building at its junction with Windmill Hill on 3rd March. 

The structure was so badly damaged it was deemed unsafe and struts were put in place to shore it up, forcing Highfield Road to be closed for safety reasons. Access to around 200 homes is now limited to a single track route and people say ambulances were held up as they answered calls on March 21st, 23rd and 25th. Day Wheatley, from the estate, said:

“All the residents were waiting for something like this to happen. Unfortunately it’s happened three times in a week which is worrying to many people, especially those with health conditions or the elderly.

“Seeing many ambulances being delayed is shocking and unacceptable when there could be an easy fix to it.”

The only currently open alternative is a lengthy diversion via a narrow lane between Coleman Hill and Highfield Crescent. However, there is a short section of private road on Foredraft Street blocked by bollards, the key's for which are in the possession of a local resident.

Residents say issues with getting the bollards unlocked has also caused delays, not least when the owner of the key's isn't at home. Cradley and Wollescote councillor, Ryan Priest, said:

“We are having a real battle to get Highfield Road open after a RTC a few weeks ago – it has left residents stuck on the estate with just a single track road to get in and out.

“We need the council to move more quickly, working with the landlord and insurance company, to at least partially reopen Highfield Road. The council should also investigate any avenue to open Foredraft Street regardless of it being a private road.”

In a letter to councillors, Andrew Summer, Dudley Council’s network management and co-ordination lead officer, explained the private section of Foredraft Street can only be opened with the consent of all relevant landowners. Mr Summer added even if permission was granted the council would have to issue a temporary order lifting the ban on traffic and pay to bring the road up to standard.

Cllr Priest says the owners of the damaged building are moving as quickly as possible to get it repaired. Mr Summer added:

“The closure of this highway is due to the significant health and safety risk that would be present should the building collapse and the need to create a sterile space for any debris to land in without a risk to passing traffic, either pedestrian or vehicular.

“Please be aware that the removal of these supports and implementation of a scaffolding would not provide support, as the scaffold would be tied into the building itself, and the sterile space would still be required.

“Once work to the building has been completed to ensure it is structurally sound, DMBC will be able to remove the closure.”

In a statement, the estate’s residents group said: “The council has a duty of care to all residents, this includes the resident’s physical, mental health and emotional well-being.

“If emergency services are being delayed, or not able to reach a resident – this is not looking after a resident’s physical and emotional well- being. The council is not doing enough for the residents’ well-being as many are worried, scared, and anxious about emergency services.”

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “In the worst case scenarios, every second can be vital for crews accessing patients, so access for our ambulances, and all emergency vehicles, is of the upmost importance.

“Therefore we would always ask people to consider whether their actions, or where they park, are going to restrict an emergency vehicle as ultimately you can never predict when or where an ambulance is going to require access.

“In instances of inconsiderate parking, this is especially frustrating so we urge people to stop and think how they would feel if it was their family member who was delayed in getting the help they needed because of it.”


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