Further controversy over Ipswich’s £100,000 electronic road sign

The new electronic road sign in Rushmere

The new electronic road sign in Rushmere

Residents have been left “heartbroken” over a series of controversial electronic road safety signs, after it has been revealed that no consultation had taken place with nearby residents.

Five variable message signs (VMS) have been established on key routes into Ipswich town centre, displaying traffic and safety information.

But the £100,000 project has sparked outrage from residents in Woodbridge Road, Kesgrave, after one sign was set up less than 10 metres outside a row of bungalows.

One resident, 73-year-old Margaret, has lived in her bungalow for 47 years, and was given no indication that one of the signs would be placed outside of her home.

“No one told me about it and it is right in front of my windows,” she said. “I think it will devalue the property.

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“It is heartbreaking to think I have lived here all these years and they do this without telling me.”

Suffolk County Council ward councillors for the area Robert Whiting and Christopher Hudson have brought the matter to the attention of Highways.

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Councillor Whiting said: “I am concerned for the local residents as there has been no consultation whatsoever.

“If these boards are used properly they may be a good idea, but I think the position of it is questionable.”

Councillor Hudson added: “Personally, I think we will be starting a campaign to move the thing – it’s the right idea in the wrong place.”

It is understood some suggestions of better locations could be raised, with the possibility of it being relocated further into the Bixley area of Ipswich.

A Suffolk County Council spokesman said that as it was a Highways decision where the sign needed to be, a consultation was not needed, but stressed that during the original consultation period in 2010 and 2011, the possibility of electronic signs had been mentioned.

Other signs have been set up in London Road, Bury Road, Felixstowe Road and Bramford Road, as part of the Travel Ipswich scheme.

The signs have sparked controversy after the Ipswich Star revealed the five signs had cost £20,000 each, prompting an outpouring or criticism online.

The signs have so far been used to warn motorists of upcoming road closures in Ransomes Way and Grafton Way, as well as safety advice reminding motorists to wear seatbelts and be aware of cyclists.

What do you think of the signs? Email newsroom@archant.co.uk with your views or comment below.

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