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Anger over kilometre direction signs for Christmas Fayre in Bury St Edmunds

PUBLISHED: 09:34 06 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:34 06 December 2017

One of the signs directing people to the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre

One of the signs directing people to the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre

Archant

A promise has been made by a Suffolk council that in future all its contractors will be told to give distances on information signs in miles - and not kilometres.

The move follows bafflement for tens of thousands of visitors to the recent Christmas Fayre, in Bury St Edmunds, with a direction sign pointing people towards the town centre reading “Christmas Park and Walk. To Bury St Edmunds Town Centre 1km distance”.

The signs caused a mixture of amusement and irritation among people arriving for the event and on social media the “metrication” of such signs was greeted with puzzlement.

One local said: “I know we are in the middle of a major debate about the future of Britain and Europe but it seems someone has already made their mind up that we are all going metric.

“It’s just silly - they should just have put half a mile – every family going to the town centre would have understood that. On every other direction sign you see in this country the distance is given in miles, just like it has been for centuries.

“I don’t know why whoever made the sign decided to go metric. Perhaps it was a subtle gesture of support for Remainers.”

But St Edmundsbury Council spokesman Mark Beaumont explained:”The Christmas Fayre is the largest in East Anglia and sees 120,000 visitors every year.

“As it is hugely popular and to help cater for the extra people that come into the town, we work with a number of partners who support the event by making their car parks available and signing them.

“In this case this was a partner’s sign pointing pedestrians from their site into town. We can assure that any of our signs give distances in miles or metres. We will send a reminder to our partners, requesting that they do the same.”

The event was held over Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 23, 24, 25 and 26, and early figures predict that it was another record-breaking year after initial figures showed a footfall increase.

Statistics for the event are still being checked but St Edmundsbury Borough Council says early indications show a 13% increase in footfall from last year at the Arc Shopping Centre.

That puts the fayre on target to match or better the 120,000 visitors who descended on the town last year.

John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, hailed the fayre’s success but said the authority would look to see how they could improve it for next year.

He said: “Initial figures show a 13% increase on last year in footfall at the Arc putting us on target to match or beat the 120,000 visitors we saw last year.”

The council is running a feedback survey which people can fill in for the chance of winning a £50 shopping voucher at Debenhams.

Visit www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/B4FKL/ to take part.

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