Strive for improvements have achieved nothing

I REFER to your piece detailing John Fosker’s entirely appropriate comments concerning the recently completed crossings in King Street (‘Heads should roll’, June 21).

I have lived in the town for many years and have brought up four children – I accept that traffic has increased over that time, and that one must continually strive to deliver improvements to the town centre for the benefit of both pedestrians and motorists, but these measures achieve nothing.

Though the responsibility for what can now be seen to have been a complete and utter waste of money now seems to have been placed firmly at county’s door, given their financial constraints, I very much doubt whether they would have acted without a considerable degree of encouragement from the town council.

Indeed, I have had more than one conversation with one of the councillors who was most enthusiastic about the scheme before work started.

I accept that the fatality at the traffic lights at the entrance to the market place last year would and should provide the stimulus for a serious review, but as that accident had absolute nothing to do with speeding and everything to do with poor visibility, the case for the new measures seems hard to comprehend.

Forcing traffic to stop a few yards before the crossing to improve visibility on the traffic light crossing would have been considerably cheaper and would certainly have made that crossing safer. Furthermore, it is virtually impossible for traffic to move rapidly through this part of town during the working day ie when the shops are open - for the following reasons:

1 The filtering process as traffic joins the one-way system at Borehamgate normally requires traffic to slow down on the approach to King Street.

2 The traffic lights by the church also control the speed of traffic on the south side of the church, however, I concede that a zebra crossing on the road leading up to the north side of the market place would probably have offered a benefit to pedestrians, whereas the new measures provide no additional benefit to pedestrians wishing to cross here.

3 The market place itself has the effect of slowing down traffic, with cars manoeuvring in and out of parking spaces.

Having driven over the “speed humps” I am able to report that they had absolutely no effect so one is left with the overwhelming conclusion that we have yet another instance of political brains not being connected to reality – wishing to be seen to be doing something without thinking it through.

On the question of costs, a 50 per cent overspend on such a small project seems beyond understanding and the Suffolk County Council spokeswoman’s defence, putting this down to improved drainage and night-time working, is not even a fig leaf – they are naked.

Why weren’t the improved drainage and night-time working built into the original costings, and why wasn’t the true cost subjected to proper, local, value for money scrutiny?