MP Barclay stunned as sign advising motorists of village hall off A47 costs �10,000

STEVE Barclay MP was left stunned when he discovered that a sign warning of a village hall’s hidden entrance off the A47 cost �10,000 to install.

The sign, warning motorists about the entrance for Thorney Toll Village Hall, has been installed by the Highways Agency after a campaign by the NE Cambs MP and parish councillor John Fish.

Estimates suggested that the sign could have cost as much as �30,000, but the actual cost was �10,000. Of that, �7,600 was spent on the design, surveys and audits.

A separate sign to Linden Close was not installed because the Highways Agency felt it was inappropriate due to street name signs at the entrance to the road.

Mr Barclay said: “I am dismayed by both the discourtesy to our campaign and the disregard to democracy displayed by the Highways Agency.

“Residents and their councillor, John Fish, asked for action to prevent loss of life at this dangerous point of the road. Then I raised this in a written question to the Parliamentary Secretary and then with ministers.

“The minister instructed the Highways Agency to take action, but it has done the bare minimum whilst wasting �10,000 on one sign which seems difficult to justify. This should have cost no more than a couple of hundred pounds.

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“I certainly intend to take this further. The Highways Agency didn’t want to do this work and has considered me a nuisance from day one.”

A Highways Agency spokesman said: “We would normally not consider installing warning signs on trunk roads for accesses to facilities such as village halls.

“Following discussions with Thorney Toll Village Hall, and subsequently with Stephen Barclay MP, it was agreed to install the sign which cost �10,000.”

The campaign for improved signage at Thorney Toll featured on Tuesday’s edition of BBC Radio 4’s File on 4, which looked at what the future may hold for the Highways Agency.