Borough officials receive abuse after removing EWR protest signs from grass verges

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Renhold Stop East West Rail signs 1
Some of the signs that have been removed by Bedford Borough Council

Bedford Borough Council highways officers have received abuse from members of the public as they removed illegal signs protesting the proposed East West Rail routes from grass verges.

Despite tensions between residents and Bedford Borough Council remaining high, the signs were removed at the end of July by council officials, apparently without warning.

However, anecdotal evidence seen by the Bedford Independent via the BFARe group suggests that residents were given prior warning, and were asked to take the signs down themselves before the council officers removed them.

In an apparent exaggerated claim, Renhold Resident, Alan Horn, says there were thousands of protests signs.

While that figure is much less, he’s angry at what appears to be residents’ views being silenced.

He told the Bedford Independent: “The huge amount of protest from the villages is there to be seen by the ‘thousands’ of anti-route 8&9 posters, yet the council is removing them from verges as they are apparently illegal.”

He went on to say that the proposed route to enhance Bedford Station does not give any thought to the rural village communities or, “added pollution”.

But a Borough Council spokesperson has maintained that they have no choice but to remove the signs as they are illegal and pose a risk to road users, saying, “any signage which is placed on highways land is removed as this is a breach of the Highways Act.

“Fines are also issued by the council for fly posting which is not safe to be placed on the side of the road and may cause a distraction to drivers.

“Unfortunately, Council highways officers have received abuse when removing signs which is totally unacceptable when they are engaged in their duties to make roadsides clear,” they said.

Bedford Rail blogger, John Kell, commented, “the arguments against Route E are diverse, but overwhelmingly rely on misunderstandings, facts taken out of context, or plain untruths.”

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