Time to get out and talk to people

I READ councillors Guy McGregor’s attempt to defend the indefensible (Free Press, June 28) with interest and cannot allow these to pass without comment.

Taking his comments in order, the “crossing” will make it easier for pedestrians to cross, with the exception of pavement scooters or wheelchairs the crossing makes not a jot of difference, this single improvement could have been achieved by simply lowering the kerbs in this area at a fraction of the cost.

Crossing here is still a dash between cars, there is no way that cars are slowing down. This was the case for the first few days but now motorists have realised that the humps can be taken at their normal speed and do not even attempt to slow.

Granted that this is a popular point for pedestrians to cross, but a large number of the 2,500 (what a nice round figure) crossings were and still are made when the lights at the nearby pedestrian crossing have forced the traffic to a halt.

I am particularly bemused by his comment regarding traffic being parked within sight lines of oncoming traffic. The approach to this area is bounded by double yellow lines on both sides of the road and with the exception of the small area beyond the site where disabled parking is allowed approaching traffic has always had a clear unimpeded view of the road ahead.

It is interesting that he believes that the stream of letters, emails and visits to the Free Press to be unrepresentative of overall public opinion, perhaps just people with nothing better to do. Mr McGregor however you choose to see it this really is public opinion!

During the last week I have made a point of canvassing the views of shopkeepers, friends, fellow shoppers, people at Kingfisher Gym and my local. Not one of this very mixed bag has a good word to say about the project.

On the contrary there is a very strong body of opinion which feels that the layout is confusing and lulls the elderly into a false sense of security in that as a “crossing” they have the right of way over oncoming traffic.

As to costs, Mr McGregor tries to soften public anger over this by pointing out that some of the money came from central government funds. That is still public money and there is still a responsibility to ensure this is spent wisely.

The cost of £60,000 is merely the construction costs. The true cost of the project will include all the associated expenditure, pre-planning meetings, planning meetings, pre-design meetings, design meetings, consultations, consultants fees, site visits, traffic surveys and reports, tender costs, post-tender meetings, and on and on. The real cost? Closer to £600,000 than £60,000! It is just that this other money has come from a different one of our pockets!

As further justification for the project he says that Sudbury Town Council strongly supports the scheme and it is money well spent. This is the council that borrowed £300,000 to buy a plot of land which it did not know what to do with and is now paying £14,000 a year in interest while it tries to give the land away, while currently relying on public spirited local companies such as Delphi to carry the cost of cleaning the weeds from pavements and gutters, £14,000 would have easily covered this work. Not what I would see as a blue chip endorsement!

He urges voices of opposition to give it time to fully appreciate the impact, what he really means is time to let people forget about it.

Prior to embarking on any of his “whole range of future projects” I suggest that Mr McGregor gets out from behind his desk and talks to people before spending their money, for that is what it is, let ratepayers tell him what they want their money spent on.

These are typical examples of actions and behaviour of local government officers and councillors and encourage people to subscribe to the views of Tom Conti who last week was quoted as saying “Local government is the real enemy of the people.”

A Elliott

Friars Street