ROADWORKS at Top Cross in Ledbury have been compared to the Berlin Wall after drivers have been asked for a ‘pass’ to go through the traffic lights.

Jane Mason, who was trying to return to her home in Horse Lane Orchard, took to social media after being asked for a ‘pass’.

She said: “This morning I went to Malvern, absolutely no problem as I live the Malvern side of Top Cross traffic lights.

“On returning at about noon, I was stopped at the barricade at the Eastnor turn and the operative came to my car window. I explained I was driving home to Horse Lane Orchard. He said I couldn’t go through without my pass! We have not been issued with passes and so I offered to show him some ID with my address on it. He said no good and I should have a letter and pass. I said the letter was in the bin at home as nowhere did it say we had to have it with us to travel. Eventually he let me through and told me to contact the council for a pass.

“I phoned spoke to a pleasant lady from Balfour Beatty and explained the situation. She said in view of the chaos from Monday they had instructed the operatives to be strict. I said it would have been more sensible to inform residents they should carry Balfour Beatty letters. She has offered to e-mail me a replacement.

“The craziest part is any Balfour Beatty letter would suffice as they don’t have a list of correct addresses for the houses east of Top Cross.

In view of this I have been contacting residents on Horse Lane Orchard to warn them and also posted on Facebook.

“A friend says it is like living either side of the Berlin Wall. Only difference is I can escape on the East side but not return home without the fictitious pass.

“Total Fiasco as my friend on Homend Crescent never got a letter about the closures.”

Balfour Beatty is leading works to improve the traffic lights and connect the water mains at Top Cross, a crossroads connecting the A449 and A438, with temporary four-way control until the start of March.

But there has been a full junction closure from Sunday, February 11 until Saturday, February 17 during the school half-term holidays with Knapp Lane and Cut Throat Lane, a narrow route used as a cut-through, also shut with access for residents only.

Ledbury county councillor Liz Harvey said inevitably there were issues with the way people were responding to the closure of the Top Cross and the diversions set up around that.

But she warned people trying to bypass the closures were putting themselves and others at risk.

She said: “All residents in areas affected – including Horse Lane Orchard – have been sent letters which, when read through, make clear that the letters themselves (which include a scannable QR code) will be used as evidence of residence by the staff working the managed barriers at the Eastnor Junction and Knap Lane-Homed junction to enable members of households beyond the closures to come and go from their properties.

“The letters can be copied, scanned, or photographed so that all members of a household can have copies to present at the barriers. Staff at the barriers should only be letting residents through – or tradespeople contracted to residents, where that is the case (newspapers, milk delivery, builders etc.).

“Access should be gained to properties only and not treated as a through route.

“People are using access up Bank Crescent to carry on up through to Wellington Heath and Colwall along the back road, or to try to cut through to the Worcester Road. This is unsafe, and is causing damage to the verges and wild plants in the AONB (now known as the Malvern Hills National Landscape).

“Additionally, tree works in Dog Hill Wood have been scheduled for the upper part of Knapp Lane which need to be undertaken while the road is closed for safety reasons. People attempting to bypass the closures and people ignoring the signage are putting themselves, their passengers, other travellers and the staff working on the roads and on the trees at risk.

“Everyone knew this would be a difficult time, but I would ask that local residents and visitors to follow the instructions they have been given, take advice and instruction from staff on the ground who will have the most up-to-date information about conditions in the area, and please be respectful and stay safe while the utility, tree and highways works are underway.”