THE "mysterious" removal of a new zebra crossing from traffic plans in St John’s has been called a “spiteful and nasty act of betrayal” by a councillor who fears it will put hundreds of elderly residents in danger.

Worcestershire County Council had previously included a zebra crossing in Henwick Road as part of its congestion-busting plans but it has now been removed because of "political reasons", according to Councillor Richard Udall.

The original plans with a zebra crossing were celebrated by Cllr Udall when they were first revealed in July and he said its inclusion came as a result of more than two decades of campaigning.

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Cllr Udall said he now cannot support the scheme as he had only accepted the plans because of a promise to install the new crossing and hundreds of elderly residents living in sheltered housing in Cripplegate, Henwick and Severn House would be “trapped” and have no safe way of crossing the road.

He called its removal a "spiteful and nasty act of betrayal."

Cllr Udall said: "[The crossing] was included at my request and for some mysterious reason, one which I am yet to understand, it has now been removed and that is just not acceptable.

"There are 600 mostly elderly and disabled residents living there [in Cripplegate House] who already have a lot of difficulty crossing the road.

"As far as I'm concerned, the safety of pedestrians and residents in St John's is far more important than free-flowing traffic."

A spokesman for the county council said: “A number of options have been considered for improving crossing facilities on Henwick Road, including relocating the refuge and the potential option of a zebra crossing.

“Final detailed designs are still being considered but the provision of a zebra crossing will not be progressed.

"The carriageway on Henwick Road is being narrowed and ample safe crossing opportunities are being provided, and therefore it is not considered that a zebra crossing is required."

The proposed work in St John’s is part of a county council project to tackle congestion in a number of ‘hotspots’ throughout the city.

The improvements have been made possible because of a successful £3.2 million bid by Worcestershire County Council to the Department for Transport.

The money is handed out to councils to tackle congestion and boost productivity on roads.

A planning application, which includes closing Bush Walk to drivers from the busy main road in St John's and making it one-way as well as creating a larger public space in front of The Bush Inn pub, is likely to go before county council planners in December.

Work to install a new signalled crossing in Croft Road was completed in May and improvements in Sidbury were completed last month.