RESIDENTS have hit out at officials who allowed railings to be put up around their homes that are more suited to a “high security compound.”

Oxfordshire County Council installed the railings around Hanover Gardens, sheltered housing for OAPs, and homes in Hunt Close, Bicester.

It says the rails are a legal health and safety requirement to prevent motorists from driving into nearby River Bure or people from falling in the water.

Five different types of railings have gone up in Manorsfield Road as part of a redevelopment of the town centre.

Town mayor and Hunt Close resident Richard Mould said: “Some of those railings are more substantial than those on a motorway bridge yet we’ve got traffic that should be doing no more than 30mph.

“If we have to have railings lets have one type not this mish-mash. It looks ugly.”

Hunt Close resident John Leverton said the road is now “a variety of ugly and uncoordinated designs” which resembled a “high security compound”.

He said: “They have been devised behind the scenes and thrown together with no regard to proportion or form.”

James Porter, chairman of Bicester Town Council’s planning committee, said: “I appreciate the need for safety but I think the railing could be more aesthetically pleasing.”

The redevelopment has seen the River Bure moved from one side of Manorsfield Road to the other. A bridge connecting Hanover Gardens with Manorsfield Road has green railings and the rest are silver, and of different heights and thickness.

Council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said the railings were a legal requirement for the site. He said: “Assessments showed that railings were essential to prevent serious injuries occurring to pedestrians and cyclists who might fall into the brook via the steep slopes.

“The railings are also in place to prevent motorists injuring themselves by potentially crashing into the brook and to protect workers when maintenance is being carried out.

“The railings vary in height and specification due to the alignment of the diverted brook, the associated works and route of the new shared pedestrian/cycleway.”

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s, which is paying for the redevelopment with Cherwell District Council, said it was talking to the councils to “look at possible options to soften their appearance without compromising safety”.