THE sudden appearance of seven concrete bollards in a historic Wantage street has prompted an outcry.

The metre-high posts were put up last week between 23 Wallingford Street and the old Wantage Labour Club.

But last night it was unclear who had put up the posts or whether permission was needed from Vale of White Horse District Council, which is investigating.

Town, district, and county councillor Jenny Hannaby, who runs a bed and breakfast in the street, said they looked like they were intended to stop people parking.

But she added: “It’s inappropriate. They are in a very important and prominent part of the town.

“They are an eyesore.”

“There must be other ways of stopping people parking.”

Shoulder of Mutton landlord Peter Fowler said: “It just seems a very heavy-handed way of dealing with it.

“It is an eyesore. They are huge.”

Terry Randall, owner of Wheatsheaf Restorations in Grove Street, said: “They are very industrial-type bollards.

“They could have been sensitive and achieved the same thing.

“They are quite ugly.

“They are the sort of thing you would put in place if you wanted to stop lorries knocking into your property.

“They need to find a solution that would look better in the area.”

Oxfordshire County Council – the highways authority – was unable to confirm if it had carried out the work at the time of going to press.

And developer Vanderbilt Homes said it did not put them up as part of plans to knock down 18th-century shops in Wallingford Street andbuild flats and shops on the site.

Development manager Geoff Murrain said: “We are not responsible for the bollards.

“We don’t have a clue who put them there.”

Vale of White Horse District Council officers have visited the site and taken photographs.

Spokesman Andrew Roberts said: “The bollards were brought to our attention at the end of last week.

“Whether or not they required planning approval and whether that approval was sought will be a part of the investigation.”