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Bury St Edmunds cycle lane wands will be removed next week

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Two sets of cycle lane wands in a Suffolk market town will be removed next week.

Suffolk County Council confirmed today that the wands along Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds, will be removed over two nights from Monday, June 20.

Those on Beetons Way will be removed over two nights from Wednesday, June 22.

Risbygate Street cycle lane wands
Risbygate Street cycle lane wands

The wands were installed in September 2020 by the county council as part of a central Government initiative to make cycling safer during the pandemic.

The council won funding from the government for a number of cycling initiatives in the county.

The wands however were heavily criticised by campaigners who said the cycles lanes in Beetons Way now collected mud, leaves and debris.

Beetons Way cycle lane wands
Beetons Way cycle lane wands

The road did have painted cycle lanes beforehand.

Shopkeepers on Risbygate Street meanwhile said the wands hit trade with vehicles unable to make deliveries and vehicles unable to make collections.

They also said the cycle lane was 'unused'.

Both sets of lanes cost £10,000 each.

Suffolk County Council announced at the end of May that the wands would be removed following concern raised by residents and shopkeepers.

Councillor Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for economic development, transport strategy and waste, said: “I am aware of local concerns about this in Bury St Edmunds and the decision has been made that the wands will be taken out as soon as we can do so.”

The county council had already been working on plans for cycle routes around the county before the Government launched its emergency Active Travel Fund in May 2020. After securing the grants, councils were instructed to work 'at pace' by minsters.

The wands could also be installed immediately under emergency powers, with consultation to follow afterwards.

A total of 1,296 people took part in a survey about the Risbygate wands during the first year.

191 thought the scheme was working very well, 121 thought it was working well.

But 159 thought it was neither working well nor not well, 282 thought it was not working well, 461 thought it was not working at all.

82 people thought the question wasn’t applicable.

Suffolk Highways said that traffic signals will be in place on Beetons Way between 7pm and 5am, and access to businesses and properties will be managed by the team on site during the work.

It is understood further discussions will take place with residents and shopkeepers around Risbygate Street whether to keep the white painted cycle lane markings.