By RICHARD WOOD
Saturday, February 16, 2013
A county councillor who will put forward a decision on a controversial one-way system has outlined his hopes for improving a market town.
Guy McGregor, Suffolk’s cabinet member for planning and transport, has described his ambition for a permanent one-way system to help improve Bungay, as an exhibition illustrating the plans are set to go on display.
A trial one-way system has been in operation since September, but it has caused a great division in the town with a group campaigning against it.
Mr McGregor acknowledged that the change has been a very controversial issue but said he was “heartened” by those who had written to him in support.
“I hope, when it is completed, that people will see the county council is trying to raise quality in Bungay. I know it well, I cherish the town and hope to improve what was happening previously,” he said.
“It has not been good for a significant length of time with unsatisfactory road safety and pavements. I hope the scheme will improve the town for residents, businesses and people visiting.”
Members of the Bungay traffic scheme opposition group have labelled the trial a “disaster” and called for money to spent on employing a PCSO to improve the patrolling of cars parked illegally and slight changes where Lower Olland Street meets St Mary’s Street.
But Mr McGregor has encouraged everyone around the town to look at the plans, as he emphasised that they will be different to the temporary look.
“We are all conservatives and change is often perceived as worse. On this occasion it has been difficult to appreciate what we are trying to achieve,” he said.
“Through the experimental scheme we cannot show in full what we hope to achieve. Many thought this would be how it would be finally and were deeply upset – which I would not blame them for – but it is not the intention at all.”
Suffolk County Council introduced the scheme as part of its Local Transport Plan. It had a trial budget of £100,000 and £350,000 for the scheme, but Mr McGregor emphasised the scheme did not mean a rise in council tax for people in Bungay.
The county council’s rights of way committee is due to make a recommendation in June, with Mr McGregor then to put forward a decision.
The exhibition of the plans will be held upstairs at the Fisher Theatre, in Bungay, from 11am to 7pm on Wednesday, 11am to 7pm on Thursday, 11am to 3pm next Friday and 10am to 2pm next Saturday.
This week a poll has been run on The Beccles & Bungay Journal’s website asking if you would like to see the scheme made permanent. Yesterday lunchtime, 177 had voted yes (48pc) and 192 had voted no (52pc).