Sudbury: Ranger wins battle over ‘garish’ warning signs

Ranger Adrian Walters and Environment Agency officer Dave Tyrie agreeing on the location of the new signs. Ranger Adrian Walters and Environment Agency officer Dave Tyrie agreeing on the location of the new signs.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014
12:09 PM

A common lands ranger who removed “tacky and inappropriate” warning signs from a Suffolk beauty spot has scored a victory after the Environment Agency agreed not to put them back in the same place.

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The authority initially installed the offending signage next to a stream on Sudbury Common Lands to warn visitors of “strong currents and fast-flowing water” on the rare occasions when the flood gates are opened further upstream.

But ranger Adrian Walters was furious that the Common Lands Charity, which owns and manages the site, was not consulted before the agency put up the signs.

He said the “unacceptably bright and large” yellow notices were totally “disgraceful and unnecessary” and were marring the view of an area which has county wildlife site and local nature reserve status.

Common Lands Charity trustee May Berkouwer described the signs – next to a bridge joining Great Freeman’s Common with Great Fullingpit Meadow – as “an eyesore in one of the most restful iconic points of the meadows”.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said the two signs – which had to be large enough to be seen by people as they approach the bridge and robust enough to withstand the pressure from cattle – were needed to ensure the safety of visitors to the site.

But last night, Mr Walters said following the removal of the signs, the Environment Agency had approached the Common Lands Charity to discuss the issue.

He met agency officer Dave Tyrie on site and the problem had now been resolved.

Mr Walters added: “Mr Tyrie recognised that the original large and garish signs marred the views over the tranquil cattle grazed landscape.

“He explained that the agency was now obliged to erect warning signs in the vicinity of all floodgates.

“The matter was resolved swiftly and amicably with the Environment Agency agreeing to site small and relevantly worded information signs at the entrances to the meadows alongside information already provided by the charity.

“In this way, the integrity of the wonderful vistas over the meadows will not be compromised.”

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