MOTORISTS are breaking the law and flouting the one-way system around Eastcott as they attempt to save time bypassing the road closure in Crombey Street.

Residents in the area have said a collision is almost inevitable with pedestrians and surrounding buildings also at risk on the narrow roads which make up the area.

Swindon Council closed Crombey Street between Regent Circus and Eastcott Hill on Monday, March 24, as a part of the ongoing development of the former Swindon College site. It will re-open on May 9.

As a result, it is diverting traffic south along Victoria Road up to Bath Road, before sending it north down Eastcott Road to rejoin Crombey Street.

Residents noted vehicles bypassing this diversion from the first day of the road closure, with a regular flow of traffic turning west into Cross Street.

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Road signs order traffic to turn left out of Cross Street and up Prospect Hill, though many are breaking the law and ignoring this sign, with right turns into oncoming traffic towards Rolleston Street and Edmund Street.

Peter Green, the secretary of Swindon Back Garden, said: “It’s dangerous because there are people going the wrong way down a narrow road with traffic coming at speed in the right direction.

“We could end up with cars on pavements and pedestrians affected.

“There should be signs at the entrance to Cross Street making it clear there is no right turn into Eastcott Hill available.”

Toby Robson, another Eastcott resident and Swindon Back Garden member, said: “I can see why people are doing it because the diversion put in place by the council must be a mile long.

“The chances of a head-on collision are very high. We hope the local councillors will take this issue on board. Buildings and the Beehive pub could be at threat.

“Sadly it’s going to need a few tickets to deter people from continuing to do this.”

Sergeant Rebecca Smart, of Wiltshire Police’s Town Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are aware of this issue and trying to work with the developers at Regent Circus and the Highways Agency to find a solution.

“We knew there would be a problem with this area at some stage given how many roadworks are going on.

“We have made all our officers aware of the problem and will be addressing it in due course.

“The matter was only brought to our attention on Thursday.”

Sgt Smart said anything from advice to a court appearance for dangerous driving could be an option for officers who catch drivers flouting the one-way system.

A Swindon Council spokesman said: “We appreciate the Crombey Street closure is going to inconvenience people but, unfortunately, it is essential work that needs to be carried out as part of the wider regeneration scheme.

“We have been made aware of some motorists using Cross Street to bypass the diversion and we will look into putting up signs reminding drivers to use the official diversion route.

“Any drivers ignoring the one-way system to rejoin Crombey Street are acting illegally and are at risk of being prosecuted by the police.”