A political row has broken out over calls to ban drivers from performing U-turns in a Barkingside street.

For 40 years motorists have been performing the manoeuvre in Clayhall Avenue to avoid a detour to South Woodford.

And during that time councillors representing Clayhall ward have pushed for the manoeuvre to be banned for safety reasons.

But Roding ward councillors, who represent people living on the Hill Farm Estate, in Southend Road, Woodford Green, many of whom use the road as a cut through to South Woodford, have launched a petition to allow the manoeuvres to continue.

The petition is supported by staff from the Roding Hospital and the Woodford Trading Estate, and has been signed by more than 400 people.

However chairwoman of the Clayhall Conservative Action Team and former Roding ward councillor Hazel Weinberg hit out at the petition. In her blog post, she wrote: ‘The Liberal Democrats in a different ward have submitted a petition to the council to allow U-turns, putting convenience before safety.

"Their objection is that they have to drive to the Longwood Gardens roundabout and turn round – a matter of a couple of minutes.”

And Clayhall councillor Alan Weinberg said the Roding ward councillors were being “inconsiderate of the serious danger motorists are causing” in tailbacks and to pedestrians and residents.

He added: “If (Roding ward councillor) Ian Bond wants to wait for someone to be killed to make a point over safety, then that is his view, not mine.”

However Cllr Bond refuted Cllr Weinberg’s claim that it takes a couple of minutes and said the round trip to get back onto Southend Road takes just under 10 minutes in light traffic.

Cllr Bond said enforcing a ban would create a “considerable inconvenience” for Hill Farm residents and said there is “no proof of any serious accidents” and “this is not a road safety issue”.

The issue is currently being assessed by bosses from Transport for London.