Roundabout colour branded Euro folly
A DECISION to spend £30,000 to revamp three Essex roundabouts – one of them with purple stones - has been branded a "complete waste of money".While some claim the colourful scheme is an improvement on what was there before, critics said it was another example of "barmy" bureaucracy inflicted upon Britain by Europe.
A DECISION to spend £30,000 to revamp three Essex roundabouts – one of them with purple stones - has been branded a "complete waste of money".
While some claim the colourful scheme is an improvement on what was there before, critics said it was another example of "barmy" bureaucracy inflicted upon Britain by Europe.
One of the roundabouts in Harwich, the gateway to the continent, has been covered in stones and trees to symbolise the European Union. Instead of replicating the flag's bright blue hue, the stones are purple.
Steve Henderson, of the Harwich Community Representatives Party, said: "£30,000 is a lot of money which could have been spent alternatively in different ways to benefit the town, especially in deprived Harwich East.
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"That amount of money on two or three roundabouts is a complete waste of money when Essex County Council should have been maintaining them any way.
"If the money had not been 'ring fenced' the grants could have been used on areas to bring them up to standard and give the Bathside area a lift out of the doldrums – it is more barmy bureaucracy from Europe."
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He claimed during the canvassing for the May elections people said they wanted cleaner streets and pavements to give them somewhere to be proud of.
"If anybody wanted to replace the stones on a graveside, they could go to the roundabouts to get them. If they are stolen, you will know where to find them again. Personally I don't like it and would have preferred the council to put in flower beds with a commitment to maintain them all year round."
A spokesman for Essex County Council admitted the stones were not an exact match with the colours of the European Union flag.
He said: "We must confess they are not a true blue in line with the colours of the European Union. The stones were the nearest we could get at an affordable cost."
He added the council's involvement had only been in "decorating" the roundabout and funding had not come directly from Essex taxpayer's money.
"We saw the design and approved it in terms of safety and approached the issue of the roundabouts to improve the quality of the local environment and they should not be a distraction to road users."
Harwich Mayor and Essex county councillor Les Double also defended the changes and claimed they were an improvement on the previous condition of the roundabouts. He also insisted the stones were blue.
The councillor chaired the Harwich Dimension Partnership, which was responsible for the overseeing funding for the roundabouts, which came from a combination of Government money and European backing.
Mr Double said: "There was an underspend on the budget of £30,000 and we have been plagued with these roundabouts which were becoming an awful mess.
"£17 million has been spent in Harwich from this fund and if we are going to worry about £30,000 for three roundabouts then that is disappointing.
"It is disappointing that people can find fault with the poor condition of the roundabouts and still find fault with them now the changes have been made."
He added the plants on the roundabouts were still in their "infancy".
The second of the roundabouts to be completed will have red dogwood trees on white stones which, when the sun shines on them in winter, will represent the flag of St George.