The Dorset Supreme Court is sitting in full session this week to determine whether or not the decision by the East Dorset Highways Authority to temporarily suspend traffic on the B3142 slip-road at Long Lane (Puddletown) - thereby restricting full access to the B3143 (Higher Waterston) - is legal.
The case brought by anti-Exiteer Ms Gina Motorway and former Chief Highways Engineer Sir John Major-Junction (who want traffic to remain on the road indefinitely) has sharply divided opinion, with some campaigners arguing it is not even a matter for the courts to decide. Supreme Court President Lady Hale-Mary has made clear that whatever the determination, the Court's decision will not affect the timing of lunch or tea at the Greasy Spoon Roadside Cafe (Lower Waterston).
Opening for the petitioners, Lord Traffic of Cone QC argued that the closure was "without precedent, illegal and a mechanism not for advancing road improvement but rather a cynical attempt to undermine the authority of Dorset Traffic Watch". It was, he continued "without precedent, illegal and a mechanism not for advancing road improvements but rather a cynical attempt to undermine the authority of Dorset Traffic Watch" - a point which Mr Justice Scales was moved to say "had already been made".
Speaking in rebuttal on behalf of the East Dorset Highways Authority, Lord Brownian-Motion QC, suggested that the matter was not one for the courts to decide but rather an operational decision well within the purview and authority of the current Chief Highways Engineer. He denied that it was without precedent noting that in 1926, the A350 Twin Sails Bridge had been similarly closed in both directions due to technical problems between Twin Sails Bridge and Rigler Road and without complaint from anyone. He went on to say that both Ms Motorway and Sir John Major-Junction were pursuing a private vendetta against the current Chief Highways Engineer on account of an earlier incident involving a motorised mini-tractor, a boy scout and a rare 1956 Beano Annual.
Earlier the Press Gallery had been closed when a pro-Exit journalist had unfolded a home made protest flag made out of bed linen which exceeded the maximum permitted dimensions. He was subject to a blanket ban.
The case continues ...