September 23 2014 Latest news:
Friday, March 14, 2014
Dozens of old Norwich street signs have been found languishing in a council depot - years after an assurance was given that they would be recycled.
Meanwhile, some of their replacements have proved difficult and costly to maintain and so have also been removed, according to the Green Party.
In 2005 Norwich City Council was recommended to adopt a new city centre signposting strategy based on the European “Liveable Cities” wayfinding project.
The estimated cost was £300,000, from various sources, with an on-going £10,000-a-year cost to the council for maintenance. The modern signs were installed in 2007, replacing earlier cast-iron signs.
At the time Rupert Read, who was then a city councillor, asked for and received an assurance that the old signs would be reused or recycled.
The Greens say that this week heaps of signs of two types could be seen, not recycled, but abandoned in a council depot.
Mr Read, who is now the Green Party’s lead candidate in the east of England for the European elections in May, said: “The city council spent £300,000 on what they called an ‘extensive pedestrian wayfinding system’ - much of which has ended up scrapped within a few years because it was ‘difficult and costly’ to maintain. Yet before they even put the signs in, they knew that ‘ongoing maintenance’ would cost £10,000 and that they did not have the budget for it.
“I feel let down by the failure of the dubious promise I received at the time. But more important, it shows a failing on the part of the council that these signs have simply been abandoned.
“Greens believe in attaching a much higher priority to the elimination of waste, and to re-using or recycling. It’s just common sense, really.”
Green City Councillor Lucy Galvin is to ask a question in a council meeting to find out exactly how many signs have been taken down and what the council intends to do with them.
she said: “It seems strange that the council are only now planning to review the best approach to ensuring that the signage is comprehensive enough without being unaffordable.
“They have even told me they are planning to extend the use of these signs in the riverside area – even though they are costly to maintain.
“I’d question whether it’s a good use of public funds when around the city so many jobs are going undone due to a lack of even basic maintenance budgets.”
Councillor Alan Waters, deputy leader of Norwich City Council, said: “The previous city way-finding signs were initially kept with the intention that those suitable would be reused.
“Some time has passed since this decision was made and we now need to resolve whether they should be sold off, recycled (a number are damaged), or if the posts can still be put back in to use in, for example, some of our parks and open spaces.
“A decision will be made later this year.