July 22 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Two more councillors have joined the attack on a £210,000 upgrade of a town centre street in Bury St Edmunds.
Borough and former county councillor Paul Hopfensperger has called the work on St Andrew’s Street a “bodged scheme”, while the county’s Trevor Beckwith has called the installation of two metal trees along the road a “waste of money” at a cost of £20,000, as well as looking “daft”.
The work to St Andrew’s Street South, which runs between The Arc and the town centre, has been ongoing since January, and was approved by St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Bury Working Party in 2011.
But Mr Hopfensperger says his borough colleagues “had little or no knowledge” of the shared-space scheme that Suffolk County Council envisaged, adding “it has been disastrous ever since”.
Mr Hopfensperger was chairman of the county council’s shared space working party between 2006-08, and went on a taxpayer-funded trip to Holland to see a shared scheme in a bid to implement such projects in Suffolk.
His frustrations came to a head during a heated exchange with county council highways chief Steve Bloor last week, and Mr Bloor has since apologised to Mr Hopfensperger for swearing at him.
Mr Hopfensperger said: “What was the purpose of spending all the council taxpayers’ money... if none of it is being implemented as we had originally envisaged?
“This road is a key part of linking the old town with the new, and it is essential to get it right. The design that Suffolk County Council are implementing is simply not right, and I would urge you to find funds to do the job properly.”
Bury Area Working Party chairman Robert Everitt has staunchly defended the plans, which have been funded from Section 106 money from The Arc and Suffolk County Council’s on-street parking fund.