RESIDENTS at a Barnstaple sheltered housing complex are being driven around the block literally to reach their front doors following changes to the town traffic system. The vehicle entry to the 50-flat Barum Court is near the junction of Litchdon Stre

RESIDENTS at a Barnstaple sheltered housing complex are being driven around the block - literally - to reach their front doors following changes to the town traffic system.The vehicle entry to the 50-flat Barum Court is near the junction of Litchdon Street with Taw Vale - and just a few metres the wrong side of the "no entry" signs, a "dozen steps at the most," according to one resident.Whereas before the elderly residents could drive or be dropped off outside their door, now they have to go around the new one-way system which they say makes life very difficult - and expensive for those who need to rely on taxis.Life is equally difficult for those on foot, who say the new roundabout layout at the junction is "an accident waiting to happen" because it forces pedestrians to cross the road on a blind bend.Of the 50 flats at Barum Court, 16 have their own cars while the rest rely on taxis, public transport and lifts, but all are visited by friends, family and health workers.The Gazette joined more than 20 residents to hear their views:"Before, it was such easy access, you could come down Taw Vale and turn right into here," said one, Gwen Vellacott."Our visitors, who are mostly elderly themselves, find they have to go all the way around the town."Several people said the longer access through the narrow one-way Litchdon Street was often blocked by unloading lorries, adding a great deal of time to journeys.Heather Jackman suffers from mobility problems - as do several of the residents: "I have to get a taxi wherever I go," she said."To go to Marks and Spencer and back from here costs me nearly £10, which is too much from our pensions."Hilda Lloyds added: "If the traffic is heavy you get stuck at Litchdon Street and just sit there with the meter ticking up."Mary Given said the residents had not been considered before the no entry signs were installed: "They only need to go as far as the entrance to Barum Court and offices across the road from us," she said.Whenever anyone ventures out on foot, they dread attempting to cross by the new roundabout at the top of Litchdon Street, which is set beside a wall and makes it very hard to spot oncoming traffic, especially for those not too swift on their feet."There's an accident waiting to happen there," said Janet Worth."People are driving up Litchdon Street quickly and the cars coming up Taw Vale, there's no 'give way' or 'stop' notices there."Phyllis Squires, who walks her dog three times a day, added: "I find it very difficult with this new roundabout - you have to stand right in the road to see if there is anything coming up Taw Vale."Marjorie Dix concluded: "The new roundabout is absolute chaos. They have narrowed the road, the traffic jams up and they are creating the thing they are trying to get rid of."We want Brian Greenslade to say he was wrong, but I can't see him doing that."Mr Greenslade has visited Barum Court on two occasions to speak to residents, but said he was happy to do so again if they wished to talk about the new roundabout making it difficult to cross the road, although he said it should have the effect of slowing traffic down."I appreciate some residents of Barum Court are not happy with the traffic changes but others who live there say they do not find it a problem," he said."Barum Court has benefited from a substantial reduction in traffic passing by their front entrance following the No Entry into Trinity St being introduced."Vehicles leaving Barum Court can still access Taw Vale and access to Barum Court by vehicle is still available from Litchdon Street, albeit by a slightly longer journey than before. "We worked very hard to see if we could keep access from Taw Vale to Barum Court going but it was just not safe to do so."He added that residents in the area have told him they now have a petition of several hundred signatures in support of the new traffic measures.