A council’s decision to foot the bill for road repairs has led to concern that residents could pay for the same service twice.
Bury St Edmunds Town Council allocated £150,000 to highways in its annual budget, which will also see council tax rise by 37 per cent for Band D payers, at a meeting on January 24. after Suffolk County Council, which is responsible for Highways, said it was unable to commit to pavement and path repairs.
But Cllr Clive Springett expressed concern that this would cost residents more for Highways services.
“I really struggle with it because people have already paid into the Suffolk County Council pot and we are effectively asking them to pay again,” he said.
“I’m not totally against it but I think we should be lobbying harder for them to spend the money given by the people of Bury. Otherwise they won’t spend it here, they’ll spend it in Ipswich.”
Cllr Ann Williamson agreed, and also questioned how much work could actually be done with the amount of money.
“We’re essentially making residents pay for something twice and they are going to expect more than we can deliver,” she said.
“If we repair something in Abbeygate Street then the residents in other areas will be unhappy. I’m not sure the money we can put in will appease lots of residents.”
As a result, Cllr David Nettleton called for the money to be split evenly between the councillors to spend on what their residents want and need.
But Cllr Tom Murray disagreed, stating that the money should be spent in areas with greater footfall.
“Everyone comes into town and the worst roads are in town. It would be nice to stop some of the trips and falls that happen everyday in town,” he said.
Cllr Andrew Speed also supported bypassing the county council, stating that it was the only way to give residents what they want.
“People have told us they’re unhappy with the roads and for years we’ve had a lot of money that we didn’t do anything with. We want to show them we are doing something. It’s a step in the right direction and will show we care about making improvements,” he said.
The council voted unanimously to approve the budget.