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Road ‘improvements’ last just a few weeks
Buy this photo » Workers remove the bollards in Ardley
TRANSPORT bosses last night apologised for spending thousands of pounds on new kerbs and bollards that have been ripped up just six months later.
Oxfordshire County Council’s highways department spent about £3,000 in Somerton Road, Ardley, near Bicester, last summer.
Now the same department has ripped out the work, at the same cost, after concerns from residents and because of a failure to consult Ardley Parish Council.
It said the work made the road dangerous by reducing its width. Cars had to use private driveways as passing places.
The original proposal to improve the road was made by by local county councillor Catherine Fulljames using cash from the council’s area stewardship fund.
When proposals were drawn up, Mrs Fulljames was due to take them to the parish council for consultation.
But a county council officer, who thought the plans had been approved, booked in the work to be done last August.
County council spokesman Owen Morton said: “This was a genuine error and we’ll look to ensure that this doesn’t happen with future schemes.
“Obviously no one wants to see taxpayers’ money wasted. We are sorry for this.
“The strength of feeling amongst the parish and other local residents has been a deciding factor in the removal.”
He said there would not be an investigation.
It comes a week after the county council revealed details of how it needs to save an extra £46m in the next four years.
Its plans include a 1.99 per cent council tax rise, 24-hour park-and-ride charges and a further £18m cut to the adult social care budget.
Rodney Rose, the county head of transport, said: “It was £6,000 out of a £1bn budget. It might make good newsprint, but for someone doing their job faster and better than expected – I can’t get that excited about it.”
Parish council chairman Chris Thornton said: “The parish council is very mindful of the costs of reinstating the original layout.
“However, the recent alterations were done by the county council without proper consultation and have produced a dangerously narrow road.
“On more than one occasion the school bus has had to reverse on to the busy B430 to avoid oncoming traffic, a situation that is clearly untenable.”
But another resident, Judy Moyle, said the kerbs and bollards improved the safety of her property.
Mrs Moyle, of Church Street, Ardley, contacted the council about two years ago to install a bollard to protect her rear boundary wall, which backs on to Somerton Road.
She said: “The work’s going to cause even more disruption and make more of a mess.”
Work started on Monday to remove the kerbs and bollards.