Mayor speaks out in sign row

PUBLISHED: 12:57 31 May 2002 | UPDATED: 12:01 03 March 2010

ROUNDABOUTS in Felixstowe have been "desecrated" by sponsorship adverts which are helping to pay for their planting and upkeep, according to town officials.

ROUNDABOUTS in Felixstowe have been "desecrated" by sponsorship adverts which are helping to pay for their planting and upkeep, according to town officials.

Mayor Malcolm Minns said the advertisements – plaques bearing companies' logos and names – were not wanted and was disappointed that local people had not been consulted before they appeared.

"It seems the county council has just unilaterally decided to adopt this policy of having these adverts to subsidise the plants – I think they desecrate our roundabouts and I regret very much that this has taken place," said Mr Minns.

"They have spent a lot of money on making some of these roundabouts look very nice and then spoil it with these signs.

"They are not desirable. The first thing you see on arriving at Felixstowe is a sign on a roundabout telling you about skips."

Town and district councillor Dennis Carpenter said it was not just signs themselves, but the council would not necessarily accept all sponsorships.

"There is an issue here about who is allowed to advertise and sponsor these flower beds and have their name on a plaque," he said.

"I am not saying that we would disagree with any of the current sponsors being involved, but I would not like to see signs advertising alcohol or tobacco, and I am sure there are other companies which might also give the wrong image for Felixstowe."

Councillor Andy Smith said: "If there has been sponsorship of a roundabout then it ought to look a whole lot better than it did before. I think we should make it crystal clear that we are unhappy with the way this has been handled."

The town council general purposes committee was not against sponsorship in principle but believed there should be "significant improvements" to the landscaping on the roundabouts.

It was agreed to write to the county council to ask for details of what its policy was for the sponsorship, and how companies were invited to take part.

The council would also be asked if there were any plans for additional sponsorship in the year ahead or any changes to the sponsorship arrangements.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council apologised for the lack of initial consultation about the scheme for the sponsorship of the roundabouts, but consultation was now taking place with the town council through the highways advisory committee.

Sponsors pledged to sponsor a certain roundabout and the first call on that money was for planting and maintenance of that area. However, money went into a central pool and sometimes there was a need to use it for work at other roundabouts which had greater financial demands.

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