Exeter 'active streets': People cutting down bollards and vandalising signs in Heavitree and Whipton

  • Watch Ben McGrail's report.

Bollards have been cut down in a suburb of Exeter where a low traffic neighbourhood was implemented earlier this month.

Road signs have also been vandalised in Heavitree and Whipton after Devon County Council installed traffic filters as part of an 18-month trial.

Vaughan Road, Hamlin Lane and St Marks Avenue are now only usable by buses and bicycles, and bus gates have been introduced on Whipton Lane and Ladysmith Road.

The council said the scheme would deter rat-running, encourage walking and cycling, and reduce pollution.

However, some people living in the area are against the trial and within a few days of being installed, the bollards and signs were vandalised.

A resident said: "I wouldn't agree with it but I understand it and I think it's a shame because I think in principle we would all like this wonderful world with less cars.

"But Exeter is a city that runs on its artery roads and unfortunately some of these residential roads are used by the residents to get from A to B."

One of the bollards has already been taken out. Credit: BPM Media

Another said: "I think it's awful that somebody should risk getting a criminal offence because of this. You know, what are they thinking?

"To be honest, I think there are a couple of Facebook groups where people ought to be ashamed of themselves because they're whipping everyone up into such a fervour."

Devon County has now replaced the bollards. It said: "We have been made aware of the vandalism to the temporary bollards in Heavitree and Whipton.

"If there are further incidents of vandalism we may have to install more robust, vandal-proof measures but we would ask the local community to please work with us and provide feedback via the statutory consultation."

Ward councillor Catherine Rees (Green), said: "What I really, really hope and urge is that we can come together as a community and give this trial a chance.

"People consistently tell me, out on the streets and when I'm talking to residents, that they want cleaner, safer streets.

"They don't want their streets being used as a rat-run to run through. They want their children to be safe and to be able to walk and cycle safely."

However, local taxi companies are concerned by the trial scheme.

Graham Hockey, the manager at Apple Taxis in Exeter, said: "We would like to see taxis and private hire given access to these areas just so we can take our passengers home, pick up vulnerable people, take home drunk people at night safely.

"Obviously we're part of the SWAN scheme, the Safety of Women at Night scheme, and at the moment with these new road closures we're unable to fulfil the pledge of keeping people safe."