£ 5,000 cost to ‘ design’ controversial sign
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