Row over town losing cobblestones

Cobbles along Eastgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, will be replaced during road resurfacing in Septembe

Cobbles along Eastgate Street, Bury St Edmunds, will be replaced during road resurfacing in September Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

A row has broken out over cobblestones in Bury St Edmunds being taken out and replaced with asphalt.

Suffolk county councillor Trevor Beckwith Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Suffolk county councillor Trevor Beckwith Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Town mayor Peter Thompson had criticised a decision by Suffolk Highways to take out the cobbles in Eastgate Street as part of resurfacing works in the town centre.

He said the decision to do so "took away the cultural heritage" of the town.

"I chose this as my home as I think it's a special place. There is little thought from county when it comes to things like this - preserving Bury," he said,

But county councillor Trevor Beckwith has hit back, saying he had been lobbying for repairs to the area and the stones needed to be replaced.

Mayor of Bury St Edmunds Peter Thompson Picture: MARK LANGFORD

Mayor of Bury St Edmunds Peter Thompson Picture: MARK LANGFORD - Credit: Archant

"What we are taking away is not heritage as the blocks were only laid in 1998, but we are taking away a rotten road surface, unfit for the 21st century, that is hazardous to road users and a noisy distraction to neighbouring residents," he said,

"For many years, the blocks have been subsiding, resulting in extremely poor surface conditions for all road users, particularly cyclists and motorcyclists.

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But Mr Thompson said he stood by his comments, although he accepted the wishes of residents came first if they supported their removal.

"Whenever the cobbles were put down is immaterial, we are talking about the character of the town centre," he said.

"The stones are there and in keeping with the heritage of the abbey area, and to lose them is sad."

Suffolk County Council has said Suffolk Highways had confirmed its plans to resurface Eastgate Street with bitumen, rather than blocks, in June - a decision supported by local county councillors and accepted by the town council.

Suffolk Highways will be shutting Eastgate Street and Mustow Street between Barn Lane and Cotton Lane 24 hours a day from Monday, September 2, to Friday, September 13.

A diversion will take people around the edge of the town, along Northgate Street, Compiegne Way, the A134, Hollow Road and back to Eastgate Street.

The timing of the works has also been criticised by Mr Thompson, who has said "it will gridlock the entire town".

Mr Beckwith said any disruption was unwanted, but added: "The end result will be well worth it."

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