Hedgehogs set to be ‘king of the road’ once again as they help shoppers stay safe

Jeremy Smith Chairman of Saxmundham town council putting hedgehog social distance signs in place P

Jeremy Smith Chairman of Saxmundham town council putting hedgehog social distance signs in place Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Hedgehogs will be popping up across Saxmundham in the coming weeks as the town looks to keep people safe and encourage social distancing.

Jeremy Smith Chairman of Saxmundham town council putting hedgehog social distance signs in place P

Jeremy Smith Chairman of Saxmundham town council putting hedgehog social distance signs in place Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Like many towns across the county, Saxmundham is looking at the best ways to help keep its residents safe while encouraging them to get out and about - and they have decided to use the safety conscious hedgehog to help them.

Unlike other places, the council is not allowed to set up a pedestrianised area in the town.

Jeremy Smith, chairman of Saxmundham Town Council, said: “Our aim is to help keep people safe in our High Street and help our local businesses as they reopen.

“The problem is our pavements and the street are too narrow so pedestrians have to use the road for social distancing.

Jeremy Smith Chairman of Saxmundham town council putting hedgehog social distance signs in place P

Jeremy Smith Chairman of Saxmundham town council putting hedgehog social distance signs in place Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond


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“Yet the two-way traffic is often going dangerously fast.”

While the council waits for other authorities to help install some traffic calming measures Saxmundham Town Council have decided to employ the services of the humble hedgehog.

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The council chose the animal because of its previous associations with road safety through TV adverts run by the Department for Transport’s THINK campaign, which were aimed at children in the late 90s and the early 2000s.

The designs will advise walkers on which direction to travel and encourage them to walk on the right hand pavement, so that if they do have to walk in the road they can see oncoming traffic.

Jeremy Smith Chairman of Saxmundham town council putting hedgehog social distance signs in place P

Jeremy Smith Chairman of Saxmundham town council putting hedgehog social distance signs in place Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND - Credit: Charlotte Bond

As well as the hedgehogs other, larger signs have been put up to encourage drivers to reduce their speed.

“With our friendly hedgehogs pointing the way, we’re offering a safer one-way pavement route, and also urging drivers to Go Slow and be on the alert for people needing to step in the road to keep the safe distance,” said Mr Smith.

Town council vice chairman Di Eastman said: “I think the hedgehogs are a brilliant idea.

“Not only does the snout of the hedgehog act as an ideal directional sign, they are also a bit of fun.

To help promote the reopening of the High Street and the new signage, the council is organising a number of competitions for younger children, including asking them to count, draw or name the new hedgehogs.

More information about the competitions can be found on the town council’s website.

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