RESIDENTS have been left fuming as they have to take a big detour to park outside their homes after their street was transformed into a “Covid-secure” cycle path.
Large planters were installed on Churchfield Road in Poole, Dorset, to block off the street, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to use it safely – and adhering to social distancing.
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has closed the road to cars as part of the active travel scheme to encourage people to walk and cycle more during the coronavirus pandemic.
But frustrated neighbours say they feel the move has been implemented to “punish” motorists and are complaining about having to take a “huge detour” to park in front of their homes.
Residents in Poole put up some signs and placards – such as one reading “Open our Road” – but they were taken down by “jobsworth” officials.
Council workers told residents the signs were being removed in the event of a cyclist crashing into one of the planters and injuring themselves on the screws in the signs.
The explanation left locals stunned, especially because the planters themselves were installed by the council.
Neighbouring street Bird Hill Road has also become a no-through road and Churchfield Road is also a no-through road with a closure to motorists at its junction with Fernside Road.
Carolyn Hewitt, 61, who put up the signs at the end of Churchfield Road, has accused the council of “maxing up excuses”.
She said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous. They have put the bollards in place yet it is my signs that were of mortal danger to cyclists.
“The workmen just turned up, pulled the signs out and tossed them in the back of their truck.
“It was only because I saw them that I was able to get them back.
“They told me that someone could crash and hit their head on the screws which were poking through.
“I’ll be the first to admit that my DIY is not what it should be and the screw heads were poking through but even so, it does sound like an excuse rather than a reason.
“We’re now in a position where we are pinned in our road for the next six months and have to take a massive detour to get to our own driveways.”
The temporary measures were put in place in August until March 2021, before a decision would be made on whether they would become permanent.
The project has seen hundreds of residential roads across the country blocked off in similar fashion.
In many cases residents have complained that the move has resulted in usually quieter side roads being turned into louder streets by motorists who have had to divert.
BCP Council was awarded around £1.4million from the government for the project.
Objectors have complained that there has been no public consultation and the first they were aware of it was when the roads were blocked off with planters and bollards.
A BCP spokesperson said: “An unlawful sign placed on highway was removed. Residents wishing to comment are encouraged to do so by using the web link to the consultation.”
BCP council has been approached for comment.