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Victory for Bury St Edmunds campaigners as cycle lane bollards in Risbygate Street and Beetons Way set to removed



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Cycle lane bollards along two roads in Bury St Edmunds are to be removed.

Suffolk County Council confirmed this week that the bollards, known as ‘wands’, along Risbygate Street and Beetons Way will be taken down.

The decision has been welcomed by campaigners who say the wands, installed in September 2020, on a Government-backed trial basis during the pandemic, are unsafe, have caused ‘chaos’, and disrupted business.

Shopkeepers and residents at the Risbygate Street cycle lane, this week. Picture: Mark Westley
Shopkeepers and residents at the Risbygate Street cycle lane, this week. Picture: Mark Westley

A third survey into how the public feel about the lane in Risbygate Street was due to start last month following council claims they were becoming more popular.

But in a surprise announcement this week, Suffolk County Council said both the Risbygate and Beetons Way bollards will be removed, at a date to be decided.

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.”

Beetons Way campaigners, Frank Stennett and Billy Wappett. Picture: Mecha Morton
Beetons Way campaigners, Frank Stennett and Billy Wappett. Picture: Mecha Morton

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.

It won grant money for the lanes, more of which were planned, in stages, and were instructed to work by Government ministers, 'at pace'.

A total of 1,296 people took part in the Risbygate survey during the first year - 191 of whom thought the scheme was working very well, 121 thought it was working well, 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.

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

Burt St Edmunds Town Councillor, Donna Higgins, has called for 'proper consultations' to improve cycling. Picture by Mark Westley
Burt St Edmunds Town Councillor, Donna Higgins, has called for 'proper consultations' to improve cycling. Picture by Mark Westley

John Balaam, who owns Balaams Music on Risbygate Street, said: “This is good news.

"The lane with the wands is not only an eyesore and our trade, and that of others, has suffered with people unable to make collections or drop things off.

"They are also unused.”

Residents in Nelsons Road, off Risbygate Street, have called for the shopping street’s original eight parking bays to be reinstated after claims their removal led to illegal parking on their residential street.

White cycle lanes were already painted in Beetons Way before the wands were installed, and will stay.

Suffolk County Councillor Robert Everitt, and cabinet member for families and communities at West Suffolk Council, said he was 'pleased' the wands are being removed.
Suffolk County Councillor Robert Everitt, and cabinet member for families and communities at West Suffolk Council, said he was 'pleased' the wands are being removed.

The new wands on Beetons Way, led to arguments the cycle lane is dangerous due to a build up of mud and leaves.

Campaigner Billy Wappett said: “This is fantastic news.

"The lanes are dangerous and should never have been installed in the first place.”

Town Councillor Donna Higgins, said: "I am really pleased the county council has listened to the variety of voices over this issue.

"I would welcome improvements to cycling in the area but it is up to Suffolk County Council to hold proper consultations with all interested groups, so that changes can be made that everyone agrees on."

Suffolk County Councillor, Robert Everitt, said: "I am very pleased the wands are being removed..

"They were installed to encourage and aid cycling during the pandemic, but this are no longer necessary."