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Online video craze could lead to fatality at notorious ford, residents say, as Nottinghamshire County Council consultation takes place with view for permanent closure

Residents have warned that Rufford Ford would attract a ‘paparazzi-like’ crowd of online videographers which would encourage dangerous driving if the site reopened to vehicles.

A consultation is under way to permanently close the road through the beauty spot after it became famous as a location for videos of vehicles splashing through the water or getting stuck.

Problems became so bad police requested it was temporarily closed to traffic in December, and Nottinghamshire County Council is now consulting on whether it should be closed for good.

Rufford Ford.
Rufford Ford.

Residents close to site, near Ollerton, say dozens of people with cameras could descend on the quiet spot at once, with some of those filming creating viral videos for social media sites including YouTube and TikTok.

One motorcyclist was seriously injured in an incident, and locals says there have been many near misses.

If the route is permanently closed to traffic, access will be maintained for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

Rufford Ford.
Rufford Ford.

One local resident, who asked not to be named, said: “It was like paparazzi following the Royal family. It was so uncomfortable for people living here, and could get scary at times.

“It was like a football match with all the YouTubers swearing and shouting. There were up to 100 a day.

“If they weren’t getting good enough footage, they would use their vehicles to block the ford and raise the water levels. Police have been down quite a few times.

“One filmer told us he was earning £100,000 a year from the videos.

“We’ve seen a man ruin his motorhome that he’d sold his house to buy when he went through the ford, and a girl wrote off her £8,000 Mercedes.

“There have been so many near misses where the YouTubers have been egging people on to go faster. A little girl was missed by inches once.

“It’s only a two mile detour with the road closure, so it isn’t even much of an inconvenience.

“The YouTubers claim the closure has affected local businesses, but in fact they’re better than ever because it’s safer now.”

Rufford Ford.
Rufford Ford.

Resident Keith Childs said: “There was a significant problem with accidents, particularly in the winter. Cars would spray water across the road which would freeze.

“My daughter’s car was written off on our driveway, a neighbour’s gatepost was knocked down and another had their wall obliterated.”

Mrs Fox said: “It would have been a matter of time until there was a fatality.

“The influx of YouTubers was dangerous. They would encourage drivers to come through fast while there were children waiting close by.

“It’s a shame it’s had to close, but now it’s a peaceful place families can come again.”

The public has until March 5 to take part in the consultation, which can be done online or by emailing tmconsultation@viaem.co.uk.

Rufford Ford.
Rufford Ford.

The county council will make a final decision in the following months.

Cabinet member for transport and environment, Neil Clarke, said: “Prioritising public safety at Rufford Ford is our main concern. Our teams have thoroughly explored all the options and we truly believe that a full and permanent closure to motor vehicles is the best solution.

“Since the initial closure, we have been talking to local landowners and residents, as well as businesses and have incorporated these opinions. However, we will not be making a final decision without full consideration of the public view, and this is why the consultation is so important.

“I would also stress; this is not a complete closure. This option would offer the opportunity to transform Rufford Lane into a walking, cycling or horse-riding only route which is connected to other local footways and bridleways. This was actually the original purpose of the road – as a local crossing point of Rainworth Water before the advent of motor vehicles.”

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