Blunder costs taxpayers £18k

RED-faced officials today admitted blundering away £18,000 of taxpayers' cash on a traffic calming measure they have now had to scrap.With preparations now in full swing for the Suffolk Show – which will be attended by around 80,000 visitors – it was suddenly realised new traffic islands would cause horrendous chaos.

RED-faced officials today admitted blundering away £18,000 of taxpayers' cash on a traffic calming measure they have now had to scrap.

With preparations now in full swing for the Suffolk Show – which will be attended by around 80,000 visitors – it was suddenly realised new traffic islands would cause horrendous chaos.

No-one spotted the potential problem when the islands were built – and no-one asked the organisers of the county show for their views.

Just two months ago Suffolk County Council put the two new concrete traffic islands in the centre of the old Felixstowe Road, near the Seven Hills junction at Nacton, as a safety measure.

Almost immediately the Evening Star started to receive phone calls and e-mails from drivers asking why had the work been done – and hadn't anyone thought of the effect on Suffolk Show traffic.

Now contractors have been brought in to remove the islands and the fiasco has cost taxpayers a total of £18,000.

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In another twist, letters were sent to residents apologising for the disruption to come and then the workers turned up a week early to demolish the islands.

A county council spokeswoman said the islands – initially put in place to prevent overtaking on hatched markings near the turning for Nacton village and slow traffic – had had to be removed to allow for the Suffolk Show traffic.

Police and show organisers needed to be able to have three lanes of traffic to cope with the huge numbers of vehicles entering and leaving parking areas at the beginning and end of each show day.

"We did various consultations before we carried out the work to put the traffic islands in place and the concern about management of show traffic was not mentioned by anybody – it didn't come up at all," she said.

"We asked the police and residents and others, but unfortunately we didn't consult with the organisers of the Suffolk Show.

"We have absolutely no excuse and have held our hands up – it was a mistake.

"When it was realised what had happened we were faced with the choice of leaving it as it was or doing something about it. Residents had been really pleased with the way the islands were slowing down traffic.

"We hope people will appreciate it was mistake and that we have tried to make the best of the situation."

The scheme was originally set to cost £25,000 but then only cost £9,000 because it was decided to use reflective bollards instead of electrically illuminated ones.

However, it has cost £2,000 to remove the islands and will cost £7,000 to put new removable ones in which can then be taken out for future Suffolk Shows and put back again afterwards.

N What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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