East Oxford residents groups have released a video of vandals setting fire to an LTN bollard, pulling them out of the ground and driving over them.

Other footage, gathered by Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT) and Oxfordshire Liveable Streets over a period of less than three weeks this summer, shows drivers destroying the bollard in Howard Street 20 times.

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) were introduced in the Divinity Road, St Clement's and St Mary's areas of Oxford in May as part of a six-month trial.

The groups support the scheme which aims to reduce traffic and encourage walking and cycling, but some residents say it has displaced vehicles and badly damaged businesses.

It has been the target of ‘unprecedented levels of vandalism’, according to Oxfordshire County Council.

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The pictures show vans and cars driving over the bollards, one individual ripping one out of the ground and walking off with it and one person setting one alight after 11pm on a Sunday night.

Josie Proctor, who lives on Howard Street, said: “My main concern is that by vandalising bollards they put vulnerable road users like kids cycling to school in danger as they don’t expect a car barrelling towards them where they expected a filter.

"I’ve seen so many near misses, it’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt." 

Oxfordshire County Council has decided to spend £100,000 to replace the plastic bollards in East Oxford with steel ones to prevent further damage.

Ms Proctor said: “I recognise the LTNs are a contentious issue. Protesting is one thing, but these mindless thugs have cost taxpayers £100,000 to replace the barriers with steel bollards and many hours of police and council workers’ time which could be better used. 

"We have submitted the unredacted footage with number plates and faces visible to the police so they can tackle this criminality and get some money back to the public purse, as well as deter others and make the roads safer. 

“We’re really pleased that councillors are now installing steel bollards that will be much harder to destroy but we’d like to see some official cameras installed that could catch and fine those that flout the rules and the thugs that destroy public property and endanger lives.

She added: “We ask the vandals as one neighbour to another to please respect the trial and help keep all those walking and cycling on these roads safe.”

Oxfordshire County Council has spent £72,000 on replacing wrecked LTNs.

As of last week, there had been 59 vandalism incidents in which damaged bollards were replaced.

Of those, 44 were reported to the police.

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Robin Tucker, Chair of the Coalition for Healthy Streets and Active Travel (CoHSAT), said: "One thing we shouldn't forget is that the criminal action we see being perpetrated here is by a small number of nasty criminals.

"A minority of people oppose these measures, and an even smaller minority of those people commit these acts of vandalism.

"It’s worth remembering that independent polling conducted by YouGov showed that residents in Oxford support the low traffic neighbourhoods by a majority of two to one.”

A council spokesperson said: "Damage to highways infrastructure presents a significant safety risk to all road users.

"Oxfordshire County Council is working closely with Thames Valley Police and with highways engineers to monitor and respond to the unprecedented level of incidents targeting low traffic neighbourhood filters."



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This story was written by Miranda Norris, she joined the team in 2021 and covers news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Miranda.Norris@newsquest.co.uk. Or find her on Twitter: @Mirandajnorris

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