‘Confusion’ could improve safety

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A LEADING councillor has said he hopes safety improvements planned for a town centre street in Bury St Edmunds will ‘confuse everybody’ into slowing down.

Cllr Robert Everitt, chairman of St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s Bury working party, was speaking after Suffolk County Council presented its latest £45,000 plan to ‘improve’ St Andrew’s Street South.

Both councils have been looking to improve pedestrian safety in the road which runs between the arc and the older town centre, and to stop cars illegally driving down there – only buses and delivery vehicles are meant to use the road.

The plans include narrowing the road at its junction with Woolhall Street to ‘discourage’ drivers and creating build ‘ups’ with public artwork on them to again narrow the road and slow traffic.

Luke Barber, a road safety engineer for the county council, said the changes would make the street ‘a more pleasant pedestrian environment’ and that work on the scheme could start in late January.

But the scheme was not welcomed by all.

Cllr Richard Rout said: “Having to walk around public art and cycle racks just to cross the road is madness.” He described the scheme as ‘mind-numbingly weird’.

Cllr David Nettleton, meanwhile, said the road should be closed to all traffic. “The only way that will happen is when someone is hit by a bus and I cannot see this council doing anything about this until that happens, sadly,” Cllr Nettleton said.

Drivers, he said, would continue to cut through St Andrew’s Street.

“Until it is shut there will always be people that will go down it because it is so tempting,” he added.

However Cllr Everitt backed the plans. “I’m a firm believer that shared space works. So long as it is confusing enough for everybody, then everybody slows down,” he said.