COUNCILLORS have been warned that they are putting children’s lives at risk by failing to tackle a village traffic nightmare.

Dozens of drivers every day park on the narrow roads in North Hinksey, using it as a free park-and-ride, or whizz through it as a rat-run to the A34.

Villagers say it has exacerbated an already-dangerous situation on the main lane created by parents dropping children off at the village primary school.

Long-term resident Chris Sugden said: “The lane becomes a de facto one-way street with cars parked for 100 yards along it.

“Cars and vans then pass with children and parents walking in the road.

“Often there are head-to-heads as vehicles meet in the middle: one confrontation led to the police being called.”

The Willow Walk stretch of the lane, Mr Sugden said, becomes a blind corner with car parked on one side and vehicles approaching often at speed.

Villagers have come up with a long list of ideas to tackle the problem, including double-yellow lines or a controlled parking zone, but after speaking to various different councils say they feel they have been passed from pillar to post.

Mr Sugden added: “The councillors know about this: they have been told by the police that the road is too narrow for double yellow lines to be put down.

“They also claim that if they were put down, those using the lane as a free park and ride would only go elsewhere.

“I have informed the councillors that when a child is killed, their correspondence with me on this will be made known to show that the authorities knew about the problem and did nothing.”

He called for the lane to be made ‘access-only’ to deter commuters from using it as a rat-run.

North Hinksey Parish Council chairman David Kay said: “We have been aware of this issue for many years, and it is one that we would dearly like to see resolved, although unfortunately we do not have the power, authority or budget to do so ourselves.

“The safety of local residents and others walking, cycling and driving through this area is a major concern for us, and this location is quite simply an accident waiting to happen, with near-misses and conflict between road users occurring on a regular basis.

“Some of the ideas being put forward now by residents may help to provide a solution and we will be keeping a close eye on their progress.

“Hopefully all relevant bodies will enter into discussions with them with an open mind, and an answer will be found that satisfies everybody.”

Vale of White Horse District Councillor for North Hinksey Debby Hallett said the problems extended beyond the lane to Lime Road, Hurst Rise Road and Pinnocks Way.

She said the parking causing the trouble was not illegal, just 'inconvenient, thoughtless and causing a nuisance'.

Ms Hallet said she had approached the cabinet of her council several years ago about taking parking regulation itself, but got the impression cabinet members were not interested.

She also said North Hinksey Parish Council had been given the opportunity 'decades ago' to take on a civil parking enforcement role but had felt at the time it was not enough of a problem to be worth the extra workload.

Vale of White Horse District Council said in a statement: “Under The Road Traffic (Permitted Parking Areas and Special Parking Areas) (City of Oxford and Parish of North Hinksey) Order 1996, parking enforcement in North Hinksey is the responsibility of Oxfordshire County Council.”

The county council said in a statement that there were some parking restrictions in the area and, it said, where cars were found parked on yellow lines, 'we will issue penalty charge notices'.

However, spokesman Martin Crabtree went on: "There are areas without restrictions, and this tends to be where people are parking.

"It is possible that more yellow lines could be considered.

"We do not have a budget for the necessary consultation process and implementation, but there are other areas in Oxfordshire where we have worked with the local parish council who have secured the necessary funding.

“Both this and the issue of traffic routing could be discussed at our local traffic advisory committee if the local councillor or parish council wish."