The boss of the arc, Colin Roberts, has a legitimate reason to complain about St Andrew’s Street South (Bury Free Press, February 8).
Many is the time that I have walked along the stretch of road in question shaking my head at the state of the expensive block paving that was laid down a while ago, in order to ‘pedestrianise’ and ‘link’ the arc to the market area. It was obviously once the pride and joy of the council (and some town folk) when it was completed, but no longer can it be described as such.
I cannot understand the mindset behind the laying of the block paving in this area (and on Angel Hill) when traffic is still allowed to travel on it. It is clear that taxis, heavy delivery lorries and buses have had their toll on the paved areas, what with sunken areas and loose or replaced larger paving blocks. What an ugly and disgraceful sight it makes. The loose, heavier and larger blocks are also a hazard to pedestrians.
Surely, if such paved ‘pedestrianised’ areas are vulnerable to damage and subsidence then all vehicles should have been banned. Or perhaps things should have been left as they were, with a practical and useful roadway capable of withstanding heavy goods vehicles and the like.
Bury St Edmunds
I read with great interest the article in last week’s Bury Free Press about St Andrew’s Street South and fully support changes to this extremely dangerous and ugly part of town. As a trader in Risbygate Street, I take my life in my hands daily when I cross this road, and it never ceases to amaze me at the volume of ‘illegal’ traffic using the street. I firmly believe that this is due to both ignorance and party politics on the part of the Abbeygate Ward councillors who were part of the decision-making process to make this street (and King’s Road) only partly ‘shared-space’ in the first place.
As a Suffolk county councillor in 2008, I chaired the county ‘shared-space’ working party and visited many sites in Holland as well as leading a group of councillors to Kensington in London to see exactly how a ‘shared-space’ system should be implemented. The shared-space system is designed to give a more aesthetically pleasing design of the urban realm as well as helping to reduce accidents, and can be implemented anywhere from downtown Los Angeles to a small village in Holland and yes, it will even work in Bury. The conclusion of our working party was that a ‘partial’ or ‘compromised’ shared-space system simply does not work. It’s all or nothing. What we have in St Andrew’s Street is a ‘compromised’ system, and hence chaos and ugliness has resulted.
From the working party, the implementation of a very successful £205,000 pilot scheme in Hamilton Road, Felixstowe resulted. Prior to implementation of the scheme, there had been 17 accidents in Hamilton Road which had caused actual injury. Since implementation there has been none, and the street scene has been dramatically enhanced.
I am very proud to have been part of a scheme that has helped the people of Felixstowe, but would rather help the people of Bury. There will always be people for and against this shared-space system, but from my own experience of many shared-space projects throughout Europe, I know it works, and please, let’s have it in St Andrew’s Street South and King’s Road, as soon as possible before someone gets seriously hurt. This is not about party politics, it’s about the safety of the people of Bury.
Cllr Paul Hopfensperger
Independent councillor for St Olaves Ward, St Edmundsbury Borough Council
Colin Roberts, don’t get your hopes up too much.
Our borough bouncil is unlikely to improve St Andrew’s Street South, preferring to keep this barrier between the arc and town uninviting, in the belief it will keep shoppers in the arc.
Before the arc was built, we were told it could not and would not proceed without a wide, seamless, safe link between the town and arc. We were even shown plans and drawings of the wide link lined with small attractive independent retail units. Colin, where is this link?
Nearly 20% (18.9), higher than the national average, of shops on the arc are empty, with many of those remaining hanging on by a thread.
Yes, shops are closing everywhere. The difference with the arc is that, even before the first brick was laid, all the top retail analysts were warning ‘build more shops of this type at your peril’. Sadly our council did not listen.
Gloomy maybe, but it is fact with little hope on the horizon.
It won’t be long before those buying a parking ticket are given a ‘money off’ coupon only redeemable in the arc shops. Giraffe, on Parkway, has made a start by deducting the cost of customers’ parking from their evening’s bill.
So let’s have a level playing field, invest in and promote our primary/secondary trading areas and market in town. These are the backbone of Bury and still will be when the arc shops have long gone.