‘What price road safety?’

The roundabout at Billington Road/A505. Picture: Alex Hollowday
The roundabout at Billington Road/A505. Picture: Alex Hollowday

‘What price road safety?’ is the question being asked over controversial plans by Central Beds Council to make money out of roadabout advertising on a busy junction.

The council is looking to install four sponsorship signs at the junction of Billington Road, the A505, and the A4146 to the south of Leighton and north of Billington.

Although the council’s highways officer says the signs would be of “limited size”, Billington Parish Council has registered strong reservations over the move.

The parish council says it held a lengthy discussion on the matter at its recent meeting.

A statement read: “We are very concerned that at this particular busy roundabout that advertising might have two serious disadvantages.

“It is already difficult, because of trees on the corner, for traffic coming out of Leighton Buzzard to see traffic coming along the bypass on the right.

“The first distraction is that at a time when drivers need to be concentrating on the road ahead, their attention might be drawn to the advertising hoarding.

“Secondly, the presence of the advertising hoardings can easily cause a partial blockage of the view of traffic coming towards the roadabout (and maybe turning right) from the opposite direction.”

The parish council also points out that at the nearby junction of the Leighton Buzzard bypass with the A5 the signs are 0.96m x 0.25m – compared to 1.3m x 0.48m proposed now, which it believes is “much too large”.

Billington is also demanding to know how much profit Central Beds will make once roundabout maintenance costs are factored in – and questions whether some of the cash should be distrubuted to parish councils.

The signage scheme was expected to be nodded through, but due to Billlington’s objection it will now be discussed by Central Beds Council’s development management committee on Wednesday, August 27.

Central Beds Council has countered by saying the “discreet” signs would not be illuminated and would be fixed to posts 0.12m from the ground.

Each sign would have Central Beds branding along the bottom and the colour and font on the panel would depend on who paid for the privilege.

It says: “The concerns of Billington Parish Council are noted, however the Highways Officer has not raised any concerns regarding the impact of the proposed adverts on highway safety.”

It adds that any profits would contribute to efficiency savings the council is required to make.

> Is roundabout advertising a good revenue generator or is it an unwanted distraction or obstruction? Email news@lbobserver.co.uk