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Bury road repairs at risk of neglecting areas, says councillor

A pothole in a country road near West Row
A pothole in a country road near West Row

Prioritising certain road and pavement repairs in Bury St Edmunds over others will leave some residents unsatisfied, a councillor has warned.

Bury Town Council voted last Wednesday to adopt a highways strategy which will see members of its planning, licensing and finance committee deciding on what repairs will be carried out and where.

But Cllr Paul Hopfensperger urged fellow councillors to divide the £150,000 – which was allocated to road repairs after Suffolk County Council said it couldn’t commit to them – fairly so all residents can benefit.

“We’re being given that money to work on our wards. There’s a general feeling that all the money we’re given does go to the town centre because that’s where everyone goes.

“It’s debatable but that’s very much the feeling,” he said.

“The Howard Estate needs footpaths and dropped kerbs in various locations, but if the money is put into a pot, it won’t be put towards our individual wards.”

Cllr Hopfensperger instead pushed for £22,500 to be allocated to the town centre and the rest split, to spend in different areas of town.

But, despite claiming that it made sense in terms of fairness, Cllr Richard Rout said that such thinking was “self defeating”.

“Unless you get all councillors to agree on one area, it simply won’t go forward because it means big projects in individual wards won’t get the funds,” he said.

“I am sure the committee is more than capable of allocating the money fairly in the town.

“Otherwise I think we’ll be patching up here and patching up there without achieving anything substantial.”

It was also suggested by Cllr Diane Hind that the council seek advice from a civil engineer about which repairs are most urgently needed.

“There are going to be a lot of projects and items that need to be done and if we had someone to tell us which is the most important and give us a basic idea of the cost, then none of us will be saying that our wards should come first,” she said.

“I just want to get on with it and stop talking about it.”

But Cllr Tom Murray said it was pointless deciding on where money would be spent before knowing how much individual repairs would cost.

“I think we’re far too far ahead of ourselves. We’re allocating money without knowing what it’s going to be used for. We need someone to go out, see where the worst bits are and get quotes.

“Until we have quotes, we won’t know,” he said.

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