That’s a lot of money for a lamp post

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion -

DE­SPITE the many crit­i­cisms of Ash­ford’s shared space area, most peo­ple have ac­knowl­edged that at least the area around El­wick Road looks much bet­ter. Now we know that those im­prove­ments have come at a price. This week we re­veal that those im­pres­sivelook­ing curved lamp posts cost a cool £7,000 each. Cllr Keith Fer­rin, the county coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for high­ways, said he was ap­palled to dis­cover the cost, which is roughly seven times more than a nor­mal lamp post. His out­rage comes a lit­tle late. Cllr Fer­rin in­sists he would have stepped in to bring costs down if he had been in charge at the time. A strik­ing de­sign could surely have been achieved at a frac­tion of the cost. Ex­trav­a­gances such as this, funded with tax­pay­ers’ money, look waste­ful and ob­scene to those hard-work­ing peo­ple who have paid for them. Mean­while, the de­bate over the safety of the shared space con­tin­ues. As we re­ported last week, KCC says no in­jury ac­ci­dents have been re­ported since it opened sev­eral months ago. Our re­port sparked a cou­ple of com­ments from peo­ple who claim to have wit­nessed ap­par­ently se­ri­ous in­ci­dents. The truth is that it is too early to hail the shared space a suc­cess or oth­er­wise. One thing is for sure - every­one hopes that those pre­dict­ing death and in­jury are proved wrong.

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