New road scheme 'is safety risk'

A NEWLY-opened road scheme which cost more than £160,000 will put pedestrians at risk, it was claimed last night.

Laurence Cawley

A NEWLY-opened road scheme which cost more than £160,000 will put pedestrians at risk, it was claimed last night.

Metal fences have now been removed from Kings Road, in Bury St Edmunds, where St Edmundsbury Borough Council has spent £167,000 improving the street.

During the 12-week road closure, businesses along the road complained they were losing trade because passers-by assumed they were shut.

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The new permanent one-way scheme is split into different sections with one part a bitumen road and the other an open cobbled area.

But the end result has been criticised by county councillor Paul Hopfensperger who warned pedestrians were now at risk - something denied by the council.

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Mr Hopfensperger, who represents the Tower division on Suffolk County Council, said: “It should have been all or nothing - there is potential there now for an accident.

“What we've ended up with is something half and half where we've got the shared space area, which looks really good, but the rest of it doesn't.

“I sat there and watched people for about 15 minutes and people coming from Waitrose just walked straight out into the road.”

He claimed the two elements of the road presented a public danger.

But Paul Farmer, borough councillor for the Abbeygate ward, said: “I have had no complaints from nearby residents whom I represent; indeed those who now have a wider and safer pavement outside their houses are delighted.”

Daryn Reffell, manager of the Denny Brothers store in Kings Road, said the roadworks had damaged trade initially because some people assumed the store was closed. Now, he said, he was just pleased the roadworks were over.

He said he had already noticed an increase in customers coming through the store since the barriers were taken down. “I'm just glad there's no more building work and the road is more accessible and it is a nicer environment, just like it was before,” he said.

The works were carried out by the council because of concerns over poor pedestrian facilities in Kings Road, which links the main town centre and Parkway.

Last year, the council experimented with a one-way system along the road and that has now been made permanent, with a two-way cycle lane next to the main road.

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