ROAD blocks that were installed on Friday as part of the new East Oxford Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme were ripped out by angry residents.

The barriers, on streets off Cowley Road, are part of a six month LTN trial taking place in the Divinity Road, St Clement's, and St Mary's areas.

It follows a similarly controversial scheme in Cowley.

READ MORE: 'People are angry': LTN smashed down on its first day standing
Just one day after being installed, opponents of the Oxfordshire County Council scheme removed the barriers from Stockmore Street, Temple Street, and Divinity Road.

The action followed traffic chaos on Friday, with bus services delayed by up to an hour.

The barriers are now all believed to have been repaired – some by local people.

A county council survey conducted last year showed most householders and businesses opposed to the East Oxford scheme.

Oxford Mail: Bollards removed on Stockmore Street.Bollards removed on Stockmore Street.

RECAP: Traffic 'gridlocked' and severe delays on Cowley Road

A huge majority, 80 per cent, of businesses objected to the plans – 90 per cent of them saying it would create more traffic on nearby roads.

There were also concerns from the city council that the scheme is rushed.

Labour county councillor Damian Hayward tweeted on Saturday morning: "So half of the Bollards in East Oxford have been ripped out, and people have taken power tools to the planters to try and remove them.

"I am absolutely fed up with a culture that demands we drive everywhere and encourages vandalism to maintain this."

However, Labour city councillor Linda Smith described the trials as 'rushed', saying: "Cowley Road is gridlocked and bus journeys home from town for residents in Lye Valley are delayed by an hour.

"Did anyone reasonably expect any other result from the rushed LTN experiments?"

Labour city Shaista Aziz said: "Terrible and totally avoidable. LTN’s have become divisive issue, pitting people and communities against each other along class and economic lines.

"Transport and environment policy needs to focus on tackling inequalities and bringing people together. A better strategy is needed."

People on Cowley Road remained divided over the barriers.

Oxford Mail: Ben Remedios, 29, and Essi Pentti, 30 who had a traffic 'nightmare' navigating the new East Oxford LTNs.Ben Remedios, 29, and Essi Pentti, 30 who had a traffic 'nightmare' navigating the new East Oxford LTNs.

READ MORE: Traffic 'carnage' after LTN rollout but some business owners are optimistic

Essi Pentti, 30, said what should have been a five-minute journey along Cowley Road had taken 30 minutes.

She said: "It is quite a dangerous situation... I'm actually really pro LTNS but there doesn't seem to be the infrastructure in place to support it. It's very scary."

A Stockmore Street resident, who asked not to be named said he was glad the LTN had been removed.

He said: "No one listened to us when we said we didn't want this. Yes, it would be nice for there to be less cars, but this is not the way. It's dividing people and making good citizens break the rules in this way because they have no choice."

However mother-of-three Sarah Thorne, 36, from Oxford Road, said: "I think its quite brave of the council.

Oxford Mail: Bollard removed on Temple Street LTN.Bollard removed on Temple Street LTN.

"Something has to change and it's always a difficult thing. It's made a huge difference where I live on Oxford Road. It's much safer for children playing, and so many more people are cycling.

"I would say it seems to have been done quite quickly, all in one go. If there was a change in bus travel costs that would be better."

Louise Hazan, from Florence Park said: "They introduced LTNs to our area just after lockdown lifted and there are now less cars. I'm grateful for it for my area, but I think it has pushed air pollution up in other places."

Read more from this author

This story was written by Shosha Adie

She joined the team in 2022 as a digital reporter.   

To get in touch with her email:

Follow her on Twitter: @ShoshaAdie

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