BAFFLED employees are trying to make sense of Worthing Council’s decision to stop the way roundabouts are sponsored in the town.
For more than a decade, legal firm Burnand Brazier and Tisdall has paid to sponsor what are deemed by the council as “traffic islands” in Aldsworth Avenue, Goring, and Ardsheal Road, Broadwater.
But now, if the company wants to continue sponsoring them, it will have to fork out an extra £3,500 for the privilege.
Practice manager Paula Griffiths received a letter from the council saying, because of the current economic climate, the authority could no longer continue to support the sponsorship process, and Burnand Brazier and Tisdall’s agreement would come to an end in three months.
Paula said: “It is a real shame. We are mystified about this decision. We’ve happily sponsored the roundabouts for many years, investing about £3,000 a year for bedding plants and our sign.”
Chris Bradley, the council’s head of parks and foreshore, said: “The amount of money we get from sponsors does not cover the costs of maintenance any longer.
“When we had more sponsored roundabouts, it was more viable.
“Currently, we look after about 15 traffic islands, many of which are not sponsored.”
However, staff at Burnand Brazier and Tisdall said they cannot understand why the cost of maintaining the roundabouts is so high.
Mr Bradley said throughout the rest of the county, West Sussex County Council, which is responsible for highways, has developed a scheme with Keegan Ford, a third-party specialist, for traffic island sponsorship.
Worthing Council will now be passing responsibility for traffic islands to the county council.
He said: “We do not want sponsorship of roundabouts to end in Worthing, but the council can no longer be associated with the scheme because of the needs to cut costs.”
Burnand Brazier and Tisdall received a quote from Keegan Ford for £6,500 the Aldsworth Avenue and Ardsheal Road roundabouts, up from £3,000.
“We think it is outrageous,” said Paula. “How can such a huge sum be justified?”
A West Sussex County Council spokeswoman said: The county council’s roundabout sponsorship scheme, run by Keegan Ford, operates at no cost to the taxpayer.
“All expenses are covered by the sponsorship costs, which are comparable to the going market rate and in-line with what other sponsors are paying for similar roundabouts elsewhere within the county’s initiative. In the current economic climate, the county council is not in a position to subsidise the costs.”
Burnand Brazier and Tisdall has yet to decide if it can afford to continue sponsorship of the roundabouts.