THE town council has pledged to help organisers of a long-standing charity event in Sudbury, who have been hit by thousands of pounds of road safety costs.

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In the past, road closures and safety issues associated with the annual Sudbury Fun Run were managed by the police. But legislation has been introduced which means police officers are no longer responsible for reducing congestion and disruption on Suffolk’s road network.

The situation has left organisers of the fun run – which attracts nearly 1,000 runners and walkers, and raises thousands of pounds for charity – facing a bill of more than £4,000 to pay for a road management company to ensure safety regulations are adhered to.

This includes an estimated £1,500 to pay for temporary traffic lights at a point along the route, and extra for diversion signs.

Sudbury Joggers running club, which organises the event said the bill would have a devastating effect and would take up the majority of the money usually allocated to good causes.

Club member Jonathan Price said: “Last year we raised more than £6,000 to be shared between two charities, but if we have to pay for the road management this year, that amount would be severely compromised.

“We have no choice but to ensure we have qualified people managing the road issues during the event, as it is a legal requirement.

“Everybody really enjoys taking part and it is a big incentive for the walkers and runners to know they are raising money for such worthy causes. It would be tragic if much of this money is lost on what is basically red tape.”

At a town council meeting on Tuesday, councillors voted to allocate up to £2,000 from a grant aid budget to pay for traffic management training for Sudbury Joggers members. Councillor Nigel Bennett said they could finance the training on the proviso that the volunteers helped with traffic management at other town events in the future.

The mayor, Jack Owen said there was a certain amount of confusion surrounding who was responsible for traffic management and he called for a county council representative to attend a town meeting to explain. He added: “The county highways department will act in an advisory capacity and they have suggested traffic lights at the Cats Lane junction, which we have never needed before. However, they won’t get involved in the financial side of things, which rests with the people organising the event and the local authority.

“All councils are cutting back on contributions to charities so more events need to be organised to replace those funds. This is something we need to find a way around because it is going to hit dozens of similar events this summer.”

During the Good Friday fun run, participants take on a five-mile course through the streets of Sudbury and Great Cornard. It has been a major date on the town’s calendar since the 1980s. Anybody who can offer further support is asked to call Mr Price on 01787 880796.

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