Friday, June 29, 2007

'Public Inquiry: Day 1' Channel M news report

Chris Woodward? Since when was he a 'talking head' - although he does try to get himself into the Glossop Chronicle at every opportunity, now he's for the bypass. Ever the opportunist.

Counsel for the Highways Agency: Charles Calvert

The counsel for the Highways Agency has made his mark on this Inquiry. On Tuesday, he did his best to avoid using the microphone, pretending that he didn't know how to use it or simply avoiding it altogether. Clearly, his words are intended largely for the Inspector. This man could strut sitting down.

But he needs to be taken seriously. His Bio on his Chamber's website makes it clear he is very experienced and this profile shows he has a clear track record in advocating road schemes. It also ironically shows that he finds leisure in the 'country life' - presumably not that of the Peak District and Longdendale, which he helping his client to ruin for eternity.

But his manner and deportment are at times ridiculous. He forever reminds me of ' la de dah Gunner Graham' from 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum':

Can you see the resemblance?

"The light is on but nothing is happening..."*

Being the words of the Highways Agency Barrister, Charles Calvert, during the opening day of the Public Inquiry last Tuesday, it's a phrase that could not be more apt.

It has been widely reported elsewhere, but the Highways Agency had the gall to admit that not only had they failed to submit a huge amount of documents by the statutory deadline, but that they had issued an Errata document to those they had already submitted that was 169 pages in length.

Calls for an adjournment were heeded by John Watson, though not as far as would have been desirable (and might have been achievable if the PDNPA and Natural England had showed some solidarity). The Highways Agency bleated that they need the current timetable because "their staff had booked holidays"! What tactical mischief is at play here? And how revealing was it that TMBC agreed with objectors that an adjournment to September would be OK? Some kind of game are afoot ...

This Inquiry is bound to produce only one result. That much is clear from the contemptuous manner in which objectors and the general public are treated by the hosts TMBC, and John Watson by association. What do I mean? The most immediate and obvious thing was that the Promoters of the Scheme had enough microphones to go around, which the Objectors had none. Furthermore, the microphone that was available kept feeding back. At times, the Promoters and Watson forgot about the mics altogether until they were reminded from the floor that no-one could hear anything.

But 2 things stand out and they are the responsibility of Watson. Firstly, when a member of the public was trying to make a point without a mic and could not be heard, Watson summoned her to front to speak, as if she were a school child. It's clear where the power lies in this room - those at the front, whether it's the promoters or the 'official opposition' are the only ones who really count. This was underlined by TMBC's action in producing only enough copies of their opening statement for those who they consider matter (i.e. not the scum in the cheap seats, even if they support their wretched scheme).

The second thing that it is noticeable is the clear contempt which Watson has for the Save Swallows Wood campaign. He tends to deliberately 'forget' the name:

Sorry, I did not catch your name but I know you are interested in Swallows Wood (page 52, line 5/6)

...and again

You already told me this morning that you are ... from Friends of Swallows Wood, or some manifestation of the wood (page 82 line 26).

The text looks innocuous without the phrasing, but it's clear that Watson thinks we are a joke, like all the other tarmac jockeys.

Suffice to say that Watson comes across like a clean-shaven Alan Sugar. Despite the clear tactical games that the Highways Agency are playing, he continues to do his best to keep this farce on track lest he is the one that is fired.

*page 69, line 5/6 of the transcript

Monday, June 11, 2007


...but not quite without a trace.

In this post, we drew attention to some suspicions we had formed (and also that were out there on the world wide web) about whether or not a Longdendale Councillor, Sean Parker-Perry, was the pipsqueak behind the roadmonkey pro-road weblog.

Then, last week, a long article appeared in the Glossop Chronicle about how Sean Parker-Perry (poor iccle lamb) and Roy Oldham (erm, poor old mutton) were the victims of a horrible internet conspiracy to call them potty names on the internet, specifically wikipedia. Or something.

Looking at the edit histories their respective pages (here and here), it's clear that there's been something of an edit war going on. But what's more interesting is that the one complaining loudest about editing has been no slacker himself. He outed himself on wikipedia last year, and this list of contributions by the user with the IP address yields a lot of obsessive activity on certain pages, some of which lead back to complaints by Cllr Parker-Perry of editing on his own page. Coincidentally, the same IP address is a frequent visitor to this site, often leaving comments. Furthermore, if you plonk this IP address in an IP search engine, it comes out as the ISP

But the best bit is the page set up by wiki administrators mulling over whether Sean Parker-Perry's only other corner of the internet should be deleted. Apparently, it's not worth the hassle and he's not notable enough. We could have told anyone that...

So what a surprise that when one visits today - it's disappeared. As quickly as it appeared. One can only surmise that if it was not our Sean behind it, then surely, it would carry on. After all, roadmunkey himself said he would 'fight to the end'. Or until the local papers started digging too deep - or until he took advice to shut his mouth.

And the councillor's myspace page seems to have been also similarly shorn of all content in somewhat of a hurry.

But he's also been lazy. So look here for his Technorati page which shows parts of the blog. And the Google cache of one his last incarnations is here.

This issue is by no means over. There's strong evidence that a Longdendale Councillor has been meddling with information on an encyclopedia to make him, his colleagues, and his employer look good, as well as silence any form of dissent. Furthermore, the roadmunkey blog took vicious potshots at people known only to him and some of us, in a manner calculated to intimidate.

But he hasn't vanished - he's left his pawprints all over the web for further study and analysis. And no doubt his blog will re-appear soon (we'll let you know when).

NB - update on Friday 15/06/2007: it appears that admins have decided to delete the Parker-Perry wikipedia page and therefore it no longer exists. This also means that a log of his and others contributions to this page also no longer exist. In any effort to erase history, someone (with the IP address again), is also asking that the Longdendale Bypass page suffer the same treatment.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

From the horses mouth

The Bypass promoters Proofs of Evidence have now been uploaded to the Persona Website, and there'a a lot of stuff to look at.

But we've spotted an interesting nugget in there already. In their Proof of Evidence (situated rather tellingly amongst TMBC's documents) High Peak Borough Council's Head of Planning and Development, Adrian Fisher, states rather blatantly the Council's position on the inter-related nature of the Bypass, Glossop Spur & Rossington Park. All in one paragraph (4.8), but here it is verbatim:

In the 1998 High Peak Local plan a large strategic employment site
was allocated at Etherow Park (now Rossington Park) off Wooley
Bridge Road in Hadfield. The Plan makes it clear that the planned
construction of the Bypass and spur would add to the attractiveness of
this site for investment and so was a significant factor in its allocation.
Following considerable new infrastructure Rossington Park is only now
fully coming on stream and the prospect of the bypass being completed
remains an important feature of local investment decisions.

The message to those opposing the Road & Rossington Park is clear - they are effectively part of the same plan, but the growth of Rossington Park (& no doubt similar developments) is dependent upon the bypass & spur being built. Without the bypass & spur, it cannot get any worse and may in fact wither away.

Our friend Councillor Ivan Bell has tried to put himself at the head of the campaign opposing Rossington Park, but in a recent letter to the Advertiser, the best he is able to offer now is that some of the existing monstrosities will be 'painted green' (Greenwash indeed) alongside making a call for everyone to go away now and leave it to the Councillors. But the Council and the Councillors are the reason we have this mess in the first place. Thanks Ivan, but we can get along fine without you...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Beep beep!

You have to feel sorry for Longdendale Siege Mentality. Being lovers of hopeless causes, they have gone to the trouble of waking up the silver surfer whose job it is to maintain their interweb contraption in order to get as many of their reputed 8,500 supporters to sign their petition. Yes, we've gone on and on about that before, but bear with us.

Allied with the plea on their homepage, a letter in the Glossop Chronicle exhorted the multitudes to go to this petition (whilst failing to give the URL - which does help), and they did manage to pull their socks up: the total currently stands at 110. They must be congratulated for coming within 30 signatures of ours. Someone put something in their collective Ovaltine no doubt.

But - I don't know how to break this. The opposing petition is now zooming off into hyperspace. The Siege are eating our dust...

...beep, beep!

Monday, June 04, 2007


It's like an irritating fly that won't leave you alone...

We are loathe to draw attention to pipsqueaks who are largely talking to themselves, but roadmunkey has an interesting blog today.

He prattles on about some letter in the Glossop Chronicle 2 weeks ago, where one of Longdendale's less interesting Councillors gets his knickers in a twist over a regular letter writer to the Glossop Chronicle/Tameside Reporter, one Daniel Hooper.

Strangely, in this letter Councillor Parker-Perry seems to have as similar an obsession with Mr Hooper as roadmunkey has. Also, he is indignant about Rossington Park - as is roadmunkey. And lastly, the councillor's letter to the Chronicle also goes on about how the CPRE supposedly supports the bypass, as does the 'bypasswarrior' (sic) website. Coincidental? How the fuck should we know...?

Now we thought the latter issue was settled some time ago. We pointed out to CPRE that roadmunkey was blatantly lying about CPRE support for the bypass, and they sent him an email pointing that out. He must have ignored it, because the link is still there. But unbeknownst to him, it has been changed to make it clear no such support is forthcoming, and it carries a link for those interested in opposing the bypass.

Touché. Fly duly swatted.