Sign of the times?

SUPERFLUOUS signs drive me mad.

Our seafront at Felixstowe is full of needless warnings – dangerous rocks, as if you couldn’t see them; beware the drop, which

is blocked by a railing in any case; hazardous underwater obstacles,

as if there might not be stuff on a seabed you can’t see; and warnings about tides, waves,

steps . . .

At Landguard we still have that row of 20 or so unsightly notices every 20 yards along the sea wall disfiguring the area.

Recently there were signs – put up and then removed rather quickly after it was presumably realised how stupid they were – warning people using steps to the beach at Felixstowe Ferry that there might be shingle about. It’s one of the largest shingle beaches south of Orfordness!

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Some of the most bizarre are the “danger deep water” notices on all the tiny ponds in the Spa Gardens and the fountain next to the Town Hall.

The water is hardly a few inches a deep and most of the ponds have railings round them.

There are no signs though by the edge of the North Sea opposite the gardens – and I guess that’s a little bit deeper and more dangerous.

I can hear Suffolk Coastal officials now gnashing their teeth and muttering about risk assessments, and health and safety

and potential hazards and adequate warnings, and how people

can drown in six inches of

water.

But if you see a pond you expect it to have water in it – whether it’s one inch or 12 – and it’s simply common sense to ensure you don’t fall in, and don’t let your toddler run off on their own straight for a slime-covered ornamental fishpond shouting, woa, deep water, that’s my playground.

If you are on the coast you have to accept there will be hazards and people should be responsible enough to take care of themselves without having obvious dangers constantly pointed out to them like children.

I can see a time coming when there will be fences along cliffs all around the coast of Britain so people don’t get too close and topple over the edges, and barriers along our roads apart from designated crossing places (or perhaps tunnels), and a concrete wall along the beach.

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