LETTER TO COMET
Your correspondent Chris Pike is quite right to ask about the responsibility for, and criticise, the Vehicle Message Signs (VMS) which appeared at a dozen locations on roads in Stevenage in early 2013 (Comet Letters, 26 May). I can provide the facts.
These signs were installed as part of a phased programme countywide by the Conservative dominated Hertfordshire County Council (HCC). The total cost of the Stevenage signs alone was £201,000 (or about £17,000 per sign) roughly half of which was funded by local council taxpayers and the rest by central government. In addition there are annual maintenance costs.
HCC did not consult local residents about the desirability or positioning of these signs, and local county councillors were simply informed where they would be placed.
In April 2013 – about a week after it appeared – I had the sign on Six Hills Way, near the Marlborough Road junction, removed – to the great relief of local residents, who understandably objected to it. All the other signs across Stevenage are still in place although, about a year ago, two of them (including the other one in my division, on Fairlands Way, near the junction with Mobbsbury Way) were turned round to face traffic leaving Stevenage, because the traffic engineers decided they would be of more use like that. This confirmed my original view that, in their original orientation, the signs were a complete waste of taxpayers’ money, and this is still my view for their new orientation – and for all the other VMS in Stevenage as well.
Despite the best efforts of the opposition Liberal Democrats at HCC, and as we have said many times, the ruling Tory group wasted our money on these signs, which would have been far better spent repairing our roads.
Cllr Robin Parker CC
Borough Councillor for Manor Ward & County Councillor Chells Division