Business anger over one-way road proposal for town

BUSINESS leaders and residents have labelled a new one-way road proposal in a west Suffolk town as a waste of tax-payers money on a “pointless scheme”.

Jonathan Schofield

BUSINESS leaders and residents have labelled a new one-way road proposal in a west Suffolk town as a waste of tax-payers money on a “pointless scheme”.

If given the go-ahead the �400,000 scheme would see a one-way traffic flow along Risbygate Street and St Andrews Street North in Bury St Edmunds.

In a letter sent to people living and working on the affected roads the borough council said it was to enhance the street scene, improve highway safety and pedestrian access.


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But John Balaam, who runs Balaam's Music in Risbygate Street, said he had studied the plans with increasing dismay and anger.

“Quite apart from the huge waste of tax-payers money my main question is, what is the problem they are trying to solve?”

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Mr Balaam, who runs the 50-year-old family music business, questioned why the council wanted to make life so difficult for businesses with commercially crippling proposals.

He added: “On top of the pointless scheme they've also got a pavement build-out and tree planted right outside my shop. They clearly have no idea that to deliver and pick up pianos you need vehicles to be able stop outside.”

His criticism of St Edmundsbury has been backed by Mark Ereira-Guyer, Green Party county councillor for St Olaves Ward, who said it should never have gone out to consultation in the first place.

He said: “I don't know of anyone who has ever petitioned for changes on these roads so why even consult on a �400,000 scheme?

“This will only make congestion in the town worse. This money could be spent on far more important projects - that figure alone would be enough for 14 pedestrian crossings across Suffolk.”

Gill Malik, 58, who lives in Bloomfield Street off St Andrews Street North, said the changes would cause problems to people living on both roads.

“No-one seems to have thought about residents who will have to make a huge circular drive because they can't drive up St Andrews which is a perfectly wide and adequate road. I believe this proposal will cause gridlock, and has not been thought through,” she added.

A spokesman from St Edmundsbury Borough Council said the suggested scheme had been put together by engineers with extensive traffic and pedestrian safety expertise.

She said: “We know that there are some traffic problems in the town centre and, with the help of those who live, work or visit these areas, we would like to tackle them. Pedestrians, for example, have told us of their safety concerns, especially in St Andrews Street South and its junction with St Andrews Street North.”

She added that the council positively welcomed opinions as it would help make the area more attractive and safer.

*Deadline for response to the consultation is February 26. To see the plans go to www.stedmundsbury.gov.uk/sebc/live/current-schemes.cfm.

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