MORE than 120 residents have now signed a petition objecting to bus changes which routed double-deckers past their Colchester homes without warning.

Last week, as many as a dozen No 8 buses an hour started running all the way along Gavin Way, in High Woods, instead of turning on to Maximus Drive.

Essex County Council only recently took over responsibility for the estate roads.

It claims a legal agreement, signed in 1998, before new houses were built there, obliged it to provide a new bus route along Gavin Way. It says roadworks in Maximus Drive meant buses would have had to be temporarily diverted anyway.

Residents are angry at County Hall for apparently keeping the agreement quiet for more than a decade.

Campaigners are setting up a protest website, organising a meeting later this month and have collected at least 120 signatures on a petition in the space of a week.

Gavin Way resident David Jones said: “People are putting up posters and placards in their windows, because nobody told us about this. If they had given us some warning, even that would have been better.

“It’s very difficult to get any official information about it, but it seems like a done deal and it seems electronic bus stops are soon going to be put outside people’s houses, too.”

Some residents say they are even considering selling up and moving away because the road is too narrow for double-decker buses to pass safely.

They argue their homes are so close to the road, top deck passengers can see into their bedroom windows while the buses come so close, they can reach out and touch them.

Peter Kay, secretary of Colchester Bus Users’ Support Group, said while the area needed a proper bus service, he sympathised with residents.

He agreed they should have been told years ago about the legal agreement.

He said: “We are clear there should be a bus service on this road.

“However, it does not need to be six buses an hour each way, as it is at the moment.”

High Woods borough councillor Gerard Oxford said one possible compromise would be to replace the double-decker buses with smaller, shuttle-style buses.

He added: “The concern still is the road’s ability to actually cope with these buses.”