Council to spend £70k removing road signs

Derbyshire County Council has come under-fire for spending tens of thousands of pounds on removing “unnecessary” road signs across the county.

Throughout 2013/14, the Tory-led authority will spend £70,000 removing hundreds of road signs in Derbyshire – of which £40,000 will be spent in the Dales.

Simon Spencer, cabinet member for highways and transport, says that the move will create “less confusion” on the roads and will save Derbyshire taxpayers money “in the long run”.

He said: “People might criticise us for wasting money, but this is a really important step forward for Derbyshire.

“Many road signs are illuminated, which costs money to run and maintain, and many of the signs are out-of-date anyway and create confusion for drivers.”

But Anne Western, leader of the Derbyshire Labour group, believes the authority has its “priorities wrong” and should spend the money elsewhere – like mending potholes on Dales’ roads.

She said: “In such austere times I’m not sure this is the best thing to spend money on. If there is a real safety issue at stake, then it has to be done, but I honestly don’t think that is the case.

Transport Secretary and MP for the Derbyshire Dales, Patrick McLoughlin, has made the removal of road signs a national topic recently by calling unnecessary ones “ugly” and “potentially dangerous blots on the landscape” at a London conference.

The issue has also sparked debate on the Mercury’s Facebook page.

Jonathan Shepherd said: “I can’t say I’ve ever been confused when looking at road signs in Derbyshire, it does seem a waste of money.”

Barrie Wright said: “About time, there are over 50 road signs between Tansley and Wessington alone.”