Signage poles cause controversy in conservation area

A LOCAL authority has been dubbed “hypocritical” after installing what some residents believe is an excessive number of signage poles in a town’s conservation area.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council began work last Wednesday to put in place signs alerting drivers to residents’ permit parking in York Road, Chalk Road and Queens Road in Bury St Edmunds.

Speaking yesterday , some York Road residents expressed their disappointment with the amount of poles cluttering the picturesque street, adding how they had not been consulted on where they would go.

It comes after the Government announced it would write to councils asking them to cut signage clutter.

A spokeswoman for the borough council said a letter was being sent to residents saying the signage scheme is being reviewed.

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Photographer Rob Boyles, who now has a pole outside his late-Victorian house, said: “I think they are being hypocritical [when it came to the conservation area] and the way they have done it is clumsy, the lack of consultation.”

The 49-year-old, who supports the residents’ parking scheme, currently has a bush obscuring the pole from his bay window and said he now has little option but to keep the greenery.

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Resident Deborah Fowler, who has lived in her home for 26 years, and who does not support the scheme, said it seemed like the borough council could do what they wanted, but a borough council spokeswoman said it was not breaking conservation rules.

Mrs Fowler, 45, said residents had to pay the borough council to seek permission to change the colour of their doors, but it was putting poles “in every other bay that look horrendous”.

She was also unhappy she had paid �135 for two permits to not be guaranteed a parking space and the scheme was too weeks late.

However, she said she had received some free visitors’ permits.

Resident Nicki Hayes-Singh, 42, who works as a journalist, said it was “ridiculous” that there was only about 12 metres in between two poles outside her house.

The mother-of-two said: “The benefits of it [the scheme] are it will hopefully ensure people stick by the new parking system, but it does seem an awful lot like overkill to me.

“I don’t mind it’s outside my house. I would rather it wasn’t but it’s got to go somewhere. Putting it on lamp-posts would be a good idea, but there would have to be some that are more visual than just on lamp-posts.”

A borough council spokeswoman said: “There is limited scope for a few post-mounted signs to be wall mounted and we are contacting the owners of the walls to get agreement to do so. If we don’t get permission, the signs will have to remain post mounted.”

She added how the scheme, which is costing �4878, would involve 25 signs and 14 posts in York Road, five signs and four posts in York Close and 18 signs and 14 posts in Queens Road.

She believed that where the number of signs was more than the number of posts they would be placed on existing walls and lamp-posts.

Risbygate ward councillor David Nettleton, who believes the less street clutter the better, said the poles gave mixed messages to conservation area residents who have to abide by strict rules.

Some residents believed the scheme would just move the parking problem on.

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