Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Longdendale jigsaw puzzle

The Bypass Jigsaw is looking quite interesting, as the pieces and associations click together.

Here we have Carillion PLC - preparation costs for the Public Inquiry - £4,944,274

Now Carillion PLC bought Mowlem PLC (a previous contractor for the bypass) and their preparation costs for the PI are £4,577,105 - give or take a few pence.

But hang on, who supports the Bypass? Well, the North West Development Agency for a start. And who figures at the top of that Agency? Well, that's a stroke of luck - it's Vanda Murray. Vanda happens to be at the top of Carillion PLC who have already made for Carillion/Mowlem & Associates £9,571,379 for a load of flawed paperwork issued to the Public Inquiry.

Now back to the North West Development Agency and their declared "Key Objectives" for the region:

(a) Improve journey time reliability and tackle congestion (except on the M67/M60 as yet) on "the Regions Principal North-South-and East West Transport Corridors" (perhaps call it the M62 Mk2 Longendale Route?)

(b) Develop effective integrated transport networks within, to, and between City Regions. (something like Yorkshire North and South Cities straight through the Longendale Valley to Manchester)

(c) Underpin the Gateway Functions of the Region's main Airports and Ports, (quick dash from all of Yorkshire to Ringway - Manchester - Airport methinks)

(d) Develop Intergrated Transport Networks in rural areas based on HUBS at Key Service Centres, (why don't they speak English? The Bypass will need HUBS/Service Centres Hotels/Supermarkets/Regeneration Areas and everything "including the kitchen sink".

But we seem to have forgotten Mott MacDonald's fees for their Public Inquiry preparation and dodgy paperwork, costing approximately £3,741,500, and a warm welcome from Mr Stephen Greenhalgh of the Highways Agency, who has administered the campaign for theBypass as Project Leader. But hang about, wasn't he previously an employee of Mott MacDonald, as is his shadow at the Public Inquiry Mr. Brian Witten?

Now our Council Leader is very influential with the NWDA and its members, which probably includes Vanda Murray, a NWDA Executive "and" Carillion PLC Executive, the Company deeply involved in the almost £200 million Bypass project.

But wait a moment, the folks in Tintwistle/Hollingworth/Mottram know nowt about the M62 Mk2 connecting Cities in Yorkshire with Manchester, and the North West Development Agency keep referring to improving the Region's Principal North-South-East-West Transport Corridors, because that would be a perfect solution to an alternative M62 route through the Longendale Valley methinks.

Now there's another funny piece of the jigsaw emerging: that of Councillor Roy Oldham switching his latest rhetoric away from the folk in the 3 villages. His main concern seems for the business interests of his financial friends both now, and certainly in the future, with his big regeneration plans for the Longendale Region.

So what a lousy sight emerges out of this jigsaw - the utter destruction of the Longendale Valley for the M62 Mk2, and it's financial interests to businesses, a shed load of extra vehicles down this City-to-City Bypass route, and images of numerous people taking their places at the financial trough.

So yes, I want relief for those experiencing slow-moving, single-lane traffic in the area, but has it not been noticed that TMBC/HA have done "nowt" through the years for the village folks. They've resisted calls for a trial HGV ban to establish its effectiveness, and also stopped route restraint measures on the A628, because it would have undermined their main objective over the years, that of an alternative road route to the M62 bang through the Longendale Valley. But wait a mo if, like everywhere else in the UK, the Bypass tunnel is blocked by a vehicle accident, or perhaps a collision on the route itself, where the hell is the traffic going to go? Yes, you've guessed back on the rat runs already utilised in the area.

Now I DO WANT REAL SOLUTIONS, but more importantly, I want the "real truth" of the DFT/HA/TMBC objectives and looking at the jigsaw puzzle, it appears to be similar to a game of monopoly with lashings of dosh swilling around.

One thing finally: whilst Roy Oldham agonises about the financial interests now being affected, he fails to tell you that he has so far spent almost £1 million of "your" Council Tax Payments from "your" pockets and purses, to prop up the Tameside Council's costs of the Public Inquiry. But just wait for the real bills from the Builders/Developers/Consultants/Legal-Eagles: if divided between the families of Longendale it would be like a sudden windfall for everyone, except those staring into the trough at present.

My regards

John Hall

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