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Prickly Response to Tiggywinkles

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Local concerns over the level of Tiggywinkles signage continue to rumble on. This follows the installation of 13 new road signs, in and around Haddenham, directing visitors to the wildlife hospital.

According to one of Haddenham's Parish Councillors: "We have received a number of complaints from local residents, who regard the signage to be excessive and contrary to the desire to keep our rural village free of unnecessary roadside clutter. As a local council, we are also concerned that Bucks County Council went ahead and erected these signs without any consultation with us whatsoever. This makes a mockery of the concept of localism"

Haddenham Village Society has also been vocal in its criticism of the new signage, especially given its current campaign to have redundant and unnecessary poles removed from the roadside around the village.

Its request for further details from Bucks County Council, submitted in accordance with Freedom of Information legislation, has revealed that the tax payer picked up the bill for all the new signs, to the tune of over £4,000 (see below).

Further enquiries by Haddenham Village Society into the most recently reported financial status of Tiggywinkles have shown that the Wildlife Hospital Trust has over £3million in long term investments and owns further £1.7million in other assets (see PDF).

According to a Village Society committee member: "Not only is the new signage an eyesore for the village, its erection has been paid for by local tax payers on behalf of a charity that enjoys nearly £5million worth of assets and an annual income of over £1million."

"Local residents have a positive view of Tiggywinkles and the work it carries out, but the rash of new signs has caused a lot of bad feeling. It would be a very positive gesture on the part of Tiggywinkles to have many of the new signs removed of its own volition before some misguided residents take matters into their own hands with the aid of an angle grinder!"

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Freedom of Information response from Bucks County Council

Dear Haddenham Resident

Thank you for contacting Buckinghamshire County Council.

Your request for information has now been considered and the information you have requested is as follows and attached.

An area wide sign review has been carried out in Haddenham over several years, which identified signs in need of maintenance and improvement. These signing works were funded from the Transport for Buckinghamshire's maintenance budget, including the supply & installation at a cost of £4,028.

With regards to the new brown and white 'Tiggywinkles' signs, these were provided to improve upon the previous black on white 'Wildlife Hospital' signs. The previous signs had been provided over twenty years ago and had reached the end of their serviceable life — the legend was fading and the signs retro-reflective performance was deteriorating.

Over the past few years, Transport for Buckinghamshire had also been made aware of a number of complaints regarding inadequate signing to Tiggywinkles, which had caused delays to the delivery of sick and injured animals to the hospital.

This was taken into account as part of the review and an opportunity to provide a continuous signed route to the venue on the approaches into the village was the usual good practice that was followed.

Although the cost of providing private or tourist signs is charged on new applications, the cost of ongoing sign maintenance is the responsibility of Transport for Buckinghamshire. For that reason, Tiggywinkles were not asked for a contribution in this instance.

It is recognised that new tourist signs, in conjunction with other traffic signs, can have a cumulative detrimental impact upon the environment, especially in conservation and rural areas. For that reason, every effort was made to minimise the size of the signs by keeping the venue name to just 'Tiggywinkles' and by not permitting the use of a symbol. New signs were also co-located with existing signs wherever possible.

In the interests of road safety, there must also be continuity of the signing from the first sign to the destination. This too, has a bearing on the number of signs used, along with the use of advance direction signing on faster speed roads, so as to avoid the need for sudden braking.

The most relevant national policy document on this subject is the Department for Transport's 'Signing the Way' policy paper dated October 2011. Buckinghamshire County Council also have a Tourist & Private Sign Policy which sets out the eligibility of a tourist attraction or facility.

If you have any further queries or concerns then please contact me, Louise Perrin.

If you have a complaint about the handling of your request then please use the Council's complaints procedure (at Stage 3) in the first instance. This is available at:

www.buckscc.gov.uk/sites/bcc/about_your_council/Feedback_and_Complaints.page

Or by writing to:

FOI Monitoring Officer
Head of Legal and Democratic Services
Buckinghamshire County Council
County Hall
Aylesbury
Bucks
HP20 1UA

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