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Opinion : Did it really need so much granite?

| January 31, 2021

One of the granite features that maintains the separation between the two lanes of traffic in Westbourne Street, High Wycombe.

Back in August 2020 it was announced that a series of ‘granite features’ were to be installed on certain roads in Wycombe town centre.

According to an article that appeared in the news section of this site, the ‘granite features’ were to be installed at a cost of £130,000 to replace the damaged planters in the central reservation of the A40 and other ‘Masterplanned’ roads.

A number of the new ‘granite features’ were duly installed at the end of 2020. Every time my good self passes them yours truly is left wondering if they are actually the epitome of waste.

According to the aforementioned news article ‘The granite features will maintain the separation between the two lanes of traffic as part of the slow and steady approach to the Alternative Route.

However let’s look at what has been installed.

As you can see from the picture above in just one ‘granite feature’ there are a total of 13 granite blocks placed alongside each other to divide the carriageway. Of the 13 blocks 7 of them are tall while 6 are lower to the ground.

The length of each ‘granite feature’ is such that even if only the two blocks at either end of the ‘feature’ were there a car could not overtake another vehicle, so in actual fact just the two blocks at either end of each ‘feature’ would have done the job of separating the carriageways just as well.

However let’s expand on the picture at the top of the blog. In the picture below, you can see that before and after the row of granite blocks is a metal barrier with a ‘keep left’ sign (white arrow on a blue background) on it.

No responsible driver is going to hit the metal ‘keep left sign’, even if they did there is a large kerb before the ‘keep left’ sign which is so high it may probably stop a car in its tracks if a wheel of a vehicle hit the high kerb.


So what’s the point of the row of granite blocks? From what my good self can see only the two end blocks of granite are possibly needed to serve the purpose of dividing the carriageway indeed the 11 granite blocks of various sizes between the two end blocks serve no effective purpose at all other than to fill in space.

As anyone who has even purchased a grave stone knows granite is expensive indeed it’s no wonder the installation of the many ‘granite features’ cost £130,000!

In my opinion these granite features are a perfect example of the daft ideas and poorly planned ‘improvements’ that result in a dreadful waste of money as 11 of the granite stones in each ‘feature’ seemingly serve no purpose at all while there is a case to be made that all of the granite blocks serve no purpose as they are ‘surrounded’ by a high kerb and metal ‘keep left sign’.

Why couldn’t a row of the, presumably cheaper, metal ‘keep left’ signs have been used along the stretch of road instead of using expensive granite blocks?

In actual fact all the blocks, signs and kerbs are pointless as a motorist coming around the corner from Desborough Road has a clear view of the road ahead up to junction with West Wycombe Road and if there is no traffic coming in the opposite direction they can simply move to the other carriageway before the first ‘keep left sign’, overtake the vehicle(s) in front, before pulling back to the left lane when the rows of blocks end near the junction with Baker Street.

Sadly my good self has heard reports of the granite blocks being put to another use with the prostitutes that frequent the Desborough area using them to sit on at night to advertise themselves while the ‘punters’ drive by slowly.

From my point of view the money wasted on the needless granite block ‘features’ could have been put to better use elsewhere in High Wycombe by perhaps rejuvenating one of the many areas of the town centre that has fallen into decline.

What do you think?

My blogs are published regularly here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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