The Controversial Bowshaw Barrier

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Does anyone remember when the controversial Bowshaw Barrier was installed?  What did it cost and why was it necessary?

Well, we think it was about seven years ago at a cost of around £15,000.  It was an experiment to encourage drivers to slow down as they entered the roundabout from the dual carriageway by obscuring their view to the right.  Vegetation was planted nearby to conceal the barrier and eventually form a more natural screen after a few years.

The scheme was rejected by many from the outset.  Today the Barrier is a target for graffiti and a complete eyesore.  According to a Freedom of Information request made by one of our committee members, over a random period prior to installation and a 12 month period after installation, the injury accident numbers were exactly the same.

In that sense, the experiment hasn’t worked and the barrier is therefore likely to be regarded as a complete waste of public money.  The vegetation hasn’t done well enough because the saplings were too small to conceal it or to provide an alternative natural screen. Had larger trees been planted, it would have presumably been more expensive with on-going maintenance and management.  However it may have been false economy as the cost of removing the graffiti which has been a recurring problem is likely to amount to a much higher cost, involving lane closure under health and safety regulations while the work is carried out.

The views on this topic on our Facebook page include:

  • remove it as soon as possible as it is a complete eyesore

  • that it urbanises and brings the area down visually

  • that reducing visibility is counter intuitive

  • that painting it green would improve it

We also had a comment from someone who was involved in an accident there and who feels that the barrier does in fact slow drivers down.

There is little doubt that it is unsightly in its current state.  The Civic Society is in the process of taking the matter up with the Local Authority with a view to at least putting in a request to have the graffiti removed from it.  Please share your thoughts on this topic with us.

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