£ 5,000 cost to ‘ de­sign’ con­tro­ver­sial sign

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Westminsterlife - By David Sey­mour

Con­cern has been raised over the use of pub­lic funds af­ter the High­ways Agency spent £ 5,000 de­sign­ing a road sign for a Fen­land vil­lage. Thevil­lage hall road sign on­the A47atThor­neyToll­hadal­ready at­tracted con­tro­versy for its cost to the tax­payer, ex­pected now­to­to­tal a lit­tle over £ 9,000.

How­ever, fol­low­ing a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest sub­mit­ted­bythePeter­bor­ough Tele­graph, the High­ways Agency has re­vealed more than half of the spend – some £ 5,084 – is go­ing just on de­sign costs.

This in­cludes: site vis­its, a report to as­sess the po­ten­tial im­pact on all road users who are not in ve­hi­cles, such as pedes­tri­ans an­d­e­ques­tri­ans, two safety au­dits ( one in­ter­nal and an­other in­de­pen­dent), an ex­am­i­na­tion of the would- be en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, as well as sign de­sign it­self.

Matthew Sin­clair, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Tax­Pay­ers’ Al­liance, said: “Tax­pay­ers will be shocked that the de­sign costs for a sin­gle sign were so much.

“It shows that there is still plenty of room­for­public­sec­tor bod­ies to make sav­ings. More ef­fort has to be made to de­liver value for money for hard­pressed fam­i­lies.”

Other costs for the work, which fol­lowed a cam­paign from vil­lagers over road safety con­cerns, in­cluded con­struc­tion work(£ 922, of which­ma­te­ri­als amounted to £ 221), su­per­vi­sion of the sign’s in­stal­la­tions (£ 307) and an­other safety au­dit fol­low­ing the sign’s in­stal­la­tion (£ 757).

Th­es­pend­so­far­to­talsabout £ 7,000, but is ex­pected to rise byan­other£ 2,000with­afourth safety au­dit amongth­estep­syet to be taken.

Mem­berofWis­bechStMary Par­ish Coun­cil for Thor­neyToll Cllr John Fish echoed the crit­i­cism of the de­sign costs.

He said: “I would not have thought it would have cost that sort of money.”

Headded:“It’s alotof­money, def­i­nitely, a lot of money, andto me it’s ex­trav­a­gant, but we do

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