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Suffolk roads are no sign of the times

PUBLISHED: 18:35 03 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:52 03 March 2010

MOST people who live in Suffolk – or visit the area – know it's one of the most beautiful counties in Britain. But its light is being hidden under a bushel – there's little indication of the glories of Suffolk from the boring roadsigns that mark the county boundary.

MOST people who live in Suffolk – or visit the area – know it's one of the most beautiful counties in Britain. But its light is being hidden under a bushel – there's little indication of the glories of Suffolk from the boring roadsigns that mark the county boundary.

Today, as PAUL GEATER reports, The Evening Star launches a campaign to get better signs for the county boundaries.

FOR most Star readers, when we pass the Suffolk county sign on the road, it means we're coming home.

But just imagine you don't live in the county, that you've never been here before.

You're driving from London to Norfolk. What do the dull green signs saying Suffolk tell you as you approach Stratford St. Mary on the A12?

If you're driving from the Midlands to catch a ferry at Harwich, do you even notice the signs beside the A14?

There are two of them because the road goes into Cambridgeshire and back into Suffolk again, but they blend in so well with trees and hedges that you have to know where they are.

Even if you do see them, do these bland green signs encourage anyone to spend time in the county?

Other counties across the country make much more of a fuss about their identities.

Norfolk includes the county crest in its signs – and others are even more extravagant in an attempt to catch the eye of passing motorists.

Anyone who has driven up the A1 to Scotland can hardly have missed County Durham.

The county itself might not be spectacular – Durham Cathedral and Beamish museum excepted – but the signs marking it certainly are.

"Durham – Land of the Prince Bishops" they proclaim. Between 1081 and 1836, this land was ruled by all-powerful clerics given the additional rank of Prince.

The legend remains, on the road signs at least!

Suffolk has many claims to fame – birthplace of the English, home of the Heritage Coast, the Sporting Centre of East Anglia.

There are about 70 Suffolk signs on the county's boundaries – and officials at County Hall accept that they don't really do Suffolk justice.

Director of Environment and Transport Peter Thompson said: "We would like to be able to make some improvements to road signs, particularly on some of the main routes crossing the border into Suffolk and hope to consider this in the future.

"While there are cost implications and the county council has other priorities such as road safety to consider, we welcome suggestions for changes and improvement."

Suffolk's executive member with responsibility for roads, Joan Girling, also accepted that the road signs could be improved.

"I've got an open mind, but if there was any change it would have to be in character with Suffolk – nothing extravagant," she said.


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