AN AMBULANCE answering a 999 call was forced to wait ten minutes for bollards to be lowered in Stratford town centre.
Paramedics were responding after a man collapsed at Stratford Library in Henley Street on Monday (July 1).
But the crew was forced to wait at the intercom to the pedestrianised street leading to Shakespeare’s Birthplace before the bollards next to the Jester statue were finally lowered.
Cyril Bennis, who witnessed the hold-up, claimed Warwickshire County Council (WCC) and Stratford District Council (SDC) could not decide whose responsibility it was to lower the bollards.
The former Stratford mayor told the Observer after around ten minutes a staff member from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust finally unlocked it with a spare key.
Mr Bennis said: “It’s farcical beyond belief. People were just looking aghast. If the birthplace trust is not there who will lower the bollards? What if there was a fire?”
“There was a lot of confusion and they need try to figure out so it should not have to happen again.
“Somebody’s life was being threatened and somebody needs to take responsibility. It was inefficient of the authorities.”
When approached WCC told the Observer it was responsible for the maintenance of the bollards but SDC was in charge of their operation.
An SDC spokesperson said: “There are set procedures in place for the operation of the bollards on Henley Street. It is a partnership between Warwickshire County Council, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the district council.
“On this occasion the entry intercom at the bollards had not been activated. The first time the district council was made aware was when the ambulance control centre called to request access. Following this the normal procedures were implemented immediately and the Birthplace Trust were contacted and the bollards lowered.”
Mr Bennis said action needed to be taken to ensure there was no repeat.
He added: “There has obviously been a breakdown in communication and it is an issue that needs to be resolved. The systems don’t seem to be effective and it needs to be taken seriously.”
The patient was taken to hospital. His current condition has not been confirmed.
The bollards are raised 24 hours a day – a decision made following the Manchester bombings two years ago.