Bury St Edmunds: ‘Own-goal’ jibe at roadworks in town centre
14:01 10 March 2014
The £210,000 upgrade of safety measures on a town centre street where no one has ever been injured has been branded a “classic own goal” by a sceptical councillor.
Borough councillors David Nettleton and Clive Springett launched scathing attacks of the ongoing work in St Andrew’s Street South, Bury St Edmunds, at last week’s meeting of the Bury Area Working Party.
Mr Nettleton said the work, jointly funded by St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Suffolk County Council, could have been avoided if they had just closed the road, which is currently restricted to buses, taxis and loading vehicles,
There was further anger from Mr Springett when the council agreed to pay £20,000 for two metal trees for build-outs that will slow traffic along the street, which runs between the Arc shopping complex and the town centre.
But panel chairman Robert Everitt, St Edmundsbury’s cabinet member for Bury, staunchly defended the plans, which were agreed by the Bury Area Working Party in 2011 and have been funded from Section 106 money and Suffolk County Council’s on-street parking account.
He said: “St Andrew’s Street is a key public area joining the ancient and modern parts of our vibrant town centre, which has yet to come into its own.
“This work is designed to make a safe and comfortable space for pedestrians to use, and the street furniture will give visual interest. I look forward to seeing a marked improvement.”
But this did not deter Mr Nettleton – a borough and county councillor – from launching attacks against both authorities, branding the project “a classic borough council own goal”.
He was similarly outspoken of the county council, adding: “It’s got their fingerprints all over this – spend a lot of money on something that won’t work.”
Work to improve the junctions at either end of St Andrew’s Street and install build-outs near crossing points began in January and is due to be completed next month.
Mr Nettleton said: “When I get an answer to the question ‘has there been any disruption in the town’ (while the work has been happening), the answer will be ‘no’.
“It begs the question, why don’t we close the road? It’s been closed for over a month now and there’s been no problem.”
The panel agreed to spend up to £20,000 on two metal trees – 3.6metres tall with a diameter of 1.5m – which will be placed on build-outs at the Central Walk and Market Thoroughfare crossing points.
Mr Springett said: “I can’t understand why we can’t have real trees there. The street scene is very grubby, it’s very angular and unless these artificial trees are going to be high and reduce the straight lines, it’s not going to achieve anything.”