Calls for review into road blocks after ambulance delayed getting to emergency

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Rosalie Falla

A family from Oxford are calling for a review into new road bollards after an ambulance was delayed in responding to an emergency call to their grandfather.

The bollards, which are unlockable and unfoldable, were introduced in parts of Cowley to help with traffic flow.

However paramedics were forced to take a detour while attending the 999 call because they could not get down the road. 

A permanent road block was installed on Littlemore Road as part of the Low Traffic Neighbourhood Scheme.

The aim is to reduce through traffic, enabling cyclists and walkers to have the road to themselves, and cutting down on car emissions. 

Permanent bollard on Littlemore Road Credit: ITV News Meridian

However, on Sunday 14 March an ambulance on an emergency call had to turn around and go a different route to reach their patient.

The gentleman sadly died, and although the ambulance team said a faster response time wouldn't have saved his life, it has raised concerns among residents. 

South Central Ambulance service has launched an investigation into the response.

Watch: What do locals think of the bollards?

David Henwood, an independent councillor for Cowley, says although the scheme is a good idea in principle, the county council have 'failed to communicate with residents and close appropriate roads'. 

He says: "We have to reflect on what we can do to make the system better. And in my view, these bollards need to be removable, as we said we would deliver them to our public, and I am simply not happy that these bollards are in a fixed position that prevent our emergency services from passing through."

Road block on Littlemore Road Credit: ITV News Meridian

Oxfordshire County Council told ITV News Meridian: “Oxfordshire County Council constantly updates the emergency services and others as regards road closures relating to roadworks and emergencies as well as changes of a more permanent nature such as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, including the one in Cowley.

 "As such there is always timely information that advises on routes to particular locations which then enables Sat-Navs to be properly updated.

"This includes avoiding bollards - whether they are collapsible or not. South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) has been clear that the Low Traffic Neighbourhood played no part in the situation that arose on Littlemore Road, Oxford on March 14”.

The Cowley Low Traffic Neighbourhood Scheme is being run on a six month trial basis and will be reviewed by the county council then.