Hiring Scots `beyond our ken'

A DECISION to employ Glasgow-based consultants at a cost of £15,000 to sort out where HGVs should be parked in Suffolk has been branded a waste of money.

By Graham Dines

A DECISION to employ Glasgow-based consultants at a cost of £15,000 to sort out where HGVs should be parked in Suffolk has been branded a waste of money.

Faber Maunsell has been contracted by Suffolk County Council to carry out the work, but one parish council representative has questioned why the authority does not possess the skills to undertake the work itself.

"Instead of sending out a glossy brochure from Glasgow to all concerned, surely an A4 letter from County Hall with tear-off reply slip would have sufficed," said Don Ewings, clerk of the Debach parish meeting.

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The Glasgow firm has written to all parishes in Suffolk, asking them to comment on a draft proposal to control HGV parking following a review of current HGV parking and driver facilities. Parishes have been given a week to comment and asked for help in identifying sites where overnight HGV parking could take place.

Mr Ewings in Debach was taken aback when he received the survey.

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"Why in heaven's name should the county council employ consultants from Glasgow? The county highways department has all the information. It is – or should be – on the spot."

Julian Swainson, a member of the county council's executive committee with the portfolio for sustainable environment, planning and transport, said the aims of the study were "to identify possible problems such as the damage caused to roadside verges, and the lack of proper parking facilities, and coming up with possible solutions.

"As a result, we have drawn up a plan of the problem areas and the Suffolk villages most affected by HGV parking. We feel it is very important to make sure we consult with as many people as possible about this plan, as it will form the basis of future schemes to address the impact of HGVs."

Mr Swainson added: "Transport consultants Faber Maunsell put together the draft plan and are carrying out the consultation on our behalf.

"Faber Mansell is a specialist consultancy company which works with councils across the UK. It has particularly relevant experience in looking at

issues surrounding the impact of heavy goods vehicles. Using consultants can be the most efficient and effective way of carrying out specialist studies like this as they give us the necessary skills and experience

"The work it is undertaking for us is costing under £15,000. Its head office is based in Glasgow but we work with its London office and it uses people with knowledge of Suffolk."

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