BUSINESS people from areas like Birmingham visiting Worcester are so fed up with the city's controversial Whittington island they are AVOIDING coming off at Junction 7 of the M5.
That's the claim from a former councillor, who says potential investors in the city are telling him how notorious the £1.3 million roundabout has become outside of Worcestershire.
Aubrey Tarbuck, a former Conservative who was first elected in 1966, now attends masonic meetings around the region.
The 83-year-old, who sat on district councils in Worcester and Malvern, was at one masonic get-together with business owners in Evesham last month when he was approached about it.
He said the fellow members, many of whom were from the Birmingham area, said how they "avoid the island at all costs" because of its reputation.
"I couldn't believe it, they were all coming up to me to talk about the Whittington island," he said.
"These are business people in and around Birmingham who spend a lot of time buying, going to areas like China to invest.
"One said they all 'avoid it at all costs', another said they get off at another junction to get around it, another said they came off it one day and saw two cars shunt into each other and won't use it again.
"It's ridiculous, it's already got a real reputation and I don't know why someone hasn't been held accountable for it.
"It's been a disaster, heads should roll really."
His stinging criticism comes just weeks after Worcestershire County Council admitted it would be making changes to the approach to the island, at the top of the A4440 Southern Link Road, to make it safer.
Since being revamped in 2012 there have been six injuries, one serious, as opposed to the zero that had occurred in the two years before the layout was altered.
St John's-based campaigner Lisa Ventura set up a Facebook campaign in May to try and instigate changes.
It is used by 40,000 vehicles daily and the council plans to put up extra signs off Junction 7 of the M5, and additional road markings, to alert drivers about the angled slip-road.
Plans to make the changes are currently being finalised by officers.
Councillor John Smith, cabinet member for highways, said: "It's in the programme (of rolling highways improvements) to be done, not only new signs but also road markings.
"I'll be keeping an eye on it and working with Jon Fraser (highways officer) to make sure it's in place."
The council also says by 2019 the slip lane will be turned into a new access route all the way to Norton island, as part of plans to dual-link most of the A4440.