Bodicote residents fear 999 delays because of lack of road signs

Cllr. Ron Glynn in Canal Lane, Banbury. NNL-150112-142529009
Cllr. Ron Glynn in Canal Lane, Banbury. NNL-150112-142529009

Developers have refused to provide a road sign to prevent vehicles using a private road alongside their development.

Residents of Canal Lane, Bodicote have had several cases where emergency services vehicles have got stranded in the no through road while looking for homes in the new 1,100 home Longford Park estate.

But Taylor Wimpey and Bovis say it is up to householders in Canal Lane to put up a ‘no access’ sign if they want one.

Ron Glynn, who has lived in Canal Lane for 36 years, said: “This is a health and safety issue. Agents for Longford Park have been giving out the postcode for Canal Lane.

“On the last occasion we had a fire engine coming up the road at midnight trying to get to a house in Longford Park.

“Because there is nowhere to turn around, one of the firemen had to get out and direct the vehicle to reverse out.

“If someone was in a burning house it could be too late. We’ve had ambulances here with staff knocking on doors trying to find the patient. Police and the public have also been up here looking for houses,” he said.

Bodicote Parish Council asked Cherwell District Council’s planners to get the developers to erect signs deterring drivers from entering Canal Lane.But planning officers met a brick wall.

“They point out this is a private road to which they have no existing rights over. They consider if unauthorised vehicles are becoming an issue the owners of the road could deal with this matter,” said Cherwell planning officer Caroline Ford.

Val Russell, parish council clerk said: “The whole issue is a result of the development. The agents even give out Canal Lane postcode, resulting in satnavs taking people into Canal Lane.

“This is not something residents should be expected to resolve out of their own pockets. This is not something the district council should permit the developers to get away with.

“Residents are entitled to quiet enjoyment of their homes. We are amazed the developers would not want to provide a suitable sign - a small cost set against their large profits.”

A spokesman for the Longford Park Consortium of Developers said: “This issue was brought to our attention some two years ago, following which the consortium erected an appropriate sign on behalf of residents of Canal Lane. This sign remains in place, with a ‘no contractor access’ sign for site traffic. Additionally, all the developers have reminded sales staff to ensure customers and contractors are given clear and accurate directions to the site.”

In a letter Cherwell’s principal planning officer Matthew Parry said: “Condition 33 states “no vehicular access to the development shall be taken along Canal Lane”. This is in my opinion unenforceable given it will not be practically possible for the council to identify and enforce against each driver using Canal Lane and it would not be reasonable to enforce against the developer for the actions of individuals. With hindsight, this condition does not seem to meet the tests for planning conditions in Government guidance and should probably not have been used in this wording.”