A 'DANGEROUS' section of pavement created in a £70,000 county council project has been derided as a 'ski jump' by residents.

Work carried out by Oxfordshire County Council outside HSBC in Witney Market Square last month saw a steep slope built into part of the pavement and down into the road.

The project has seen the traffic calming 'table', currently outside The Blue Boar pub, moved further down the road so the layby can accommodate three buses, rather than the present two.

The county council insists the altered area of pavement is not a formal crossing point and has erected several barriers to prevent shoppers attempting to cross the road.

But residents complained when 'several weeks' elapsed between the slope being created and the barriers being put in place, during which some shoppers struggled to navigate the steep gradient.

After receiving comments following the pavement's completion, the county council will reinstall the wall and pavement level that originally stood there.

But Witney resident Richard Tilley admitted he struggled to see why work was carried out in the first place, calling it 'beyond belief' and a 'waste of money'.

He said: "I've never been at the top of a ski jump but that's what I imagine it would look like.

"You'd hope that they didn't have a choice and when they didn't, they realised it wasn't appropriate."

"It's appalling and it's dangerous, it's a waste of money when we haven't got much.

"If you were in a wheelchair or were a parent with a buggy, you would literally go zooming across the road and you wouldn't stop until you were either hit by a car or hit the bench on the other side."

The traffic calming table was located outside The Blue Boar for several years, but it was moved approximately 15 metres down the road in early September.

The slope was created at the same time, while the layby extension, road surfacing and lining will also take place, costing £70,000 in total.

But Mr Tilley revealed the work has so far only attracted condemnation from Witney residents.

He said: "People are talking about it in the pubs and when they're out and about, but when you tell someone about it they don't believe you.

"They think it's slightly steeper than before, but when they actually see it they haven't seen anything like it."

The county council did not confirm whether any accidents had occurred as a result of the slope, but residents warned it could become even more dangerous as the weather gets worse.

James Pratley, from Witney, last month witnessed elderly residents struggling with the slope before the barriers were erected.

He said: "My wife and I were stood in the Market Square one day and noticed two elderly people having to be helped down the slope because it was too steep.

"If the barriers weren't there the leaves would make it like an ice rink and it would be absolutely treacherous.

"I don't understand why they didn't put barriers there when they were doing the work, rather than leaving it - it's ludicrous."

Mr Tilley added: "If it's slightly icy it's a danger to everybody and now you can't use it.

"It's clearly been sealed off because its absolutely lethal.

"Whether anyone had an accident I don't know, but it was left there for enough time."

The county council has not confirmed when the pavement will return to its previous form, but spokesperson Martin Crabtree admitted the work would lead people to assume it was a crossing.

He said: "While this location is not a formal crossing point, and never has been, removing a section of wall and changing the profile of the footway gives the impression that it may be, and it was being used for this purpose by some people.

"We received comments in the weeks following the completion of the work and will be reinstating the section of wall and the original ground levels shortly.

"The project is still incomplete, with road surfacing and lining still to do, and in the meantime the barriers will be in place to guide people around the steep area at this location."