Bury St Edmunds: Residents brand £2million bridge “a white elephant”
10:36 20 February 2014
A £2million cyclepath over the A14 has been branded “a waste of money” and a “white elephant” by those living nearby.
The 43-metre bridge, which will connect Thingoe Hill and Northgate Avenue in Bury St Edmunds, was approved by Suffolk County Council last year, and is designed to provide safe passage between the town centre, railway station and northern areas of the town.
There is already a possible route for cyclists along pathways and cycle lanes to the town centre, although it does involve using Fornham Road, which is busy with traffic, as well as steep roads such as Avenue Approach or Norfolk Road.
Residents along Thingoe Hill have blasted the project, with Richard Turrell, who objected to the plans from the outset, calling it “the biggest waste of money I’ve seen recently”.
He added that 32 trees had been cut down on Thingoe Hill to make way for the construction, with plans for the bridge showing only seven trees will replace them. He also questioned whether there was demand for it, and claimed that noise from the A14 has increased since the trees were removed.
Another resident, Chris Carnaby, called it “a fiasco”, adding: “It’s complete and utter council nonsense. This is going to look right into my bedroom window.
“They didn’t want to know about any noise pollution and parking problems this would create.
“I’ve never seen anyone using any cyclepaths around here to the extent of having to spend £2m on a bridge. It’s a white elephant.”
The project has been funded by the Department for Transport and the county council.
A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said the authority had bid for Government funding to build the bridge as a way of providing a much needed connection between employment, housing and schools north of the A14 and the town centre itself.
He continued: “While Fornham Road is suitable for motorists, it’s not ideal for people walking, cycling or pushing buggies.
“The Government funding was allocated specifically for these types of schemes and would not have been available to us or other schemes. We conducted an extensive public consultation and overall people support the bridge. We’ve been working to address any concerns raised.”