ELDERLY residents fear the decision to reinstall traffic bollards on their road could have disastrous effects.

Earlier this year, Oxfordshire County Council installed the posts on Swinbrook Road, Carterton, as part of the planning permission granted for the nearby Swinbrook Park development.

Last month, they were removed after paramedics trying to access the north end of the road were forced to complete the journey without their ambulance, as they were unaware the bollards were there.

The posts have been taken down and reinstalled several times since then, with Carterton Town Council holding a public meeting tomorrow to try to find a solution.

The county council intends to replace the bollards 'shortly', which would force homeowners in the three properties north of the bollards to drive through Elmhurst Way to reach the town centre.

Each house is owned by elderly residents who have lived in Carterton for several decades and the ambulance incident has left them worried about a potential repeat.

One homeowner, 78-year-old David Bennett, said: "All three of us would feel much easier if these bollards are down.

"I don't know why the county council sanctioned it because it absolutely stinks.

"If ambulances can't get through who knows what could happen.

"I've spoken to a number of residents on Swinbrook Road and the majority said they wanted the bollards down and some sort of traffic calming instead."

The bollards, near Manor Road, were designed to help combat the longstanding problem of speeding on the 20mph road.

Mr Bennett wants a chicane system to be created instead and believes last month's incident, which saw two emergency vehicles unable to reach the top of the road, vindicates his stance.

County councillor for Burford and Carterton North Nicholas Field Johnson proposed rising or removable bollards, admitting the council was 'between a rock and a hard place'.

Mr Field Johnson and fellow county councillor Peter Handley requested tomorrow's meeting take place, which will be held at the Women's Institute Hall on Brize Norton Road at 6pm.

County and district council officers and a representative of David Wilson Homes, the Swinbrook Park developer, have been invited to attend.

Oxfordshire County Council spokesperson Martin Crabtree said: "The bollards reflect the fact that the road is not suitable as a through route.

"There have also been problems in the past with speeding prior to the bollards being installed.

"The bollards have been removed on a temporary basis as there seems to have been a lack of awareness of their presence amongst the ambulance service.

"We have ensured that the ambulance service have been made aware of their presence again and of the availability of other more suitable routes into the development and to Swinbrook Road north of the bollards.

"The intention is to replace the bollards shortly."

But Simon Kirk, operations director at David Wilson Homes Southern, suggested the bollards were instead removed to source an 'alternative locking mechanism'.

He said: “The bollards were removed temporarily whilst an alternative locking mechanism was sourced.

"Once this has been resolved they will be reinstalled and naturally the emergency services and the council will have full access.”