Criticised shared space scheme in Bury St Edmunds will not be improved

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A critic of a controversial ‘shared space’ in Bury St Edmunds has hit out at council bosses for deciding to do nothing - despite admitting it did not work last year.

Cllr Mark Bee, the leader of Suffolk County Council, visited the scheme in St Andrew’s Street South in May last year at the invitation of St Edmundsbury borough councillor Paul Hopfensperger, who claimed it remained ‘dangerous’ even after a £220,000 remake.

Calling compromised shared space ‘an oxymoron’, Cllr Bee said the section of road between King’s Road and Risbygate Street did not work and needed looking at again.

But enquiries this week by the Bury Free Press have revealed that nothing more is to be done in terms of safety.

A spokesman for Suffolk he County Council said: “Senior highways officials and the cabinet member for transport, Graham Newman, carried out an inspection of the site and agreed that they were satisfied with the shared space.

“However, it was decided that more could potentially be done to make the area more attractive to visitors to the town and a working group has been established to look into this further.”

Cllr Hopfensperger said he was ‘furious’ about council policy on compromised shared space being disregarded - a policy that he and Cllr Bee helped shape in around 2007 as vice chairman and chairman of its roads and transport scrutiny committee.

He added: “They’ve been out to investigate but not had the decency or the courtesy to tell me. What they’re doing is putting people’s safety at risk and they’ve been totally discourteous to me as a fellow councillor.”

Meanwhile, the installation of two controversial £20,000 metal trees in the same street has been delayed until late spring/early summer due to ‘technical matters’ over their foundations.