A COUPLE has offered to save tax payers £5,000 by replacing council railings for their own.

Mick and Catherine Spindler, who run a Colchester demolition and reclamation company, say the railings they salvaged would also look much better than the council's "industrial estate-style security fence."

Essex County Council has planning permission to erect the modern railings at the rear of Town House, West Stockwell Street, in the Colchester's historic Dutch quarter.

But Mr and Mrs Spindler have offered railings they salvaged from a council-owned property they demolished earlier this year in Waltham Abbey.

The asking price for the railings is £1,250 - while the council has estimated the galvanised 8ft feet high fencing, with installation, will be almost £8,000.

Mr Spindler said: “Allowing for installation costs and re-painting, what I am offering with salvaged railings - visually far more acceptable in the Dutch Quarter, a Conservation Area - will save council taxpayers around £5,000.

“Not only will the cost be less, possibly halved, the finished job using salvaged railings from the 1950s will be more in keeping with the nearby railings to the former St Martin’s Churchyard than industrial estate style fencing.”

Mr Spindler said the amount of high railings he had, together with a pair of gates, would be surplus for the council to keep in store for use elsewhere in due course.

“I am in the business not only of demolition, but also salvage and reclamation – something which I hope all councils would embrace.

"My offer to Essex County Council is good for me as a businessman, but it is also obviously good value for council taxpayers.”

He added: “Councils should encourage, and lead by example, using recycled materials whenever they can.”

The offer by Mr and Mrs Spindler’s company, M.J. Spindler Trading, has been welcomed by Colchester High Steward Sir Bob Russell.

Sir Bob strongly criticised the council's fencing plans which would see them installed between the dwelling where the nursery rhyme Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star was written in 1806 and the churchyard of St Martin’s Church.

Sir Bob said: “This seems like a fantastic offer. I have seen the railings and they will be a much better fit to the street scene in West Stockwell Street - and are considerably cheaper. Money saved. A better job. A win win resolution. Let’s hope Essex County Council will accept the offer from Mr and Mrs Spindler.”

The council confirmed the cost of the railings and installation is £7,810.

It was invited to respond to the criticisms.