County leader wants a review of works in town centre street

Councillor Paul Farmer pictured in St Andrew's Street South in 2010

Councillor Paul Farmer pictured in St Andrew's Street South in 2010

The leader of Suffolk County Council has called for a review of improvement works to St Andrew’s Street South in Bury St Edmunds, saying the shared-space scheme only works if you “do it 100%”.

Last week councillor Mark Bee visited the road, which runs between the Arc shopping centre and the old part of the town, on the invitation of councillor Paul Hopfensperger who has raised concerns the street is still “dangerous”.

The upgrade of the road – which has been dubbed the “ugliest” street in Bury – is costing about £210,000 and involves physical changes, including build-outs and improving the junctions at either end. The works are to address what has previously been described as a “serious safety issue” for pedestrians and discourage unauthorised access by motorists.

Mr Bee said by transforming a road so it looked like a pedestrian area, for example by getting rid of street furniture, you achieved a shared-space scheme.

But as he looked towards Risbygate Street, he said: “It still looks like a road and therefore that junction there is still encouraging traffic to come in.” He added: “It only works if you do it 100% and if you don’t do it 100% it doesn’t work.”

Mr Hopfensperger said the block surface should have been used all the way along the stretch to the junctions. “It’s a complete mess and it’s an abuse of council tax payers’ money,” he said.

Mr Bee said he wanted a review of the works. “I will go back now and check to see what the progress is and how can we now take this forward and manage it properly and pick up Paul’s concerns.” He added: “What I have to ask people to do is look at the whole picture of it and look at how it feeds into the roads system.”

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A borough council spokeswoman said the borough and county councils were committed to achieving a safe and attractive space for visitors.

“The principles for the design for built-out traffic islands that will discourage continuing unauthorised access by motorists were approved jointly by St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Suffolk County Council.

“The county council, as the highways authority, is carrying out these improvements within the budget set.”