If the truth be told, we don't get that many comments on the blog, but we get the odd interesting one from time to time. So a comment left yesterday on an old post is especially interesting. So much so, we've decided to feature it here.
But first, some context. You may remember that in August last year, the Highways Agency published several alternative proposals (opens PDF) to the bypass that had been drawn up in consultation with individuals. We posted at the time about the irony of the way the Highways Agency were concerned to firmly state their green credentials in ensuring the booklet was produced in an environmentally conscious manner (unlike their proposed dirty great proto-motorway through our valley), as well as the content of the booklet, and the bizarre routes outlined within it.
Yesterday, one of the people responsible for two of those routes left a comment on that post to highlight his experience with the people at Hyder Consulting in drawing up 2 of those proposals. We'll let him speak in his own words:
I was 'responsible' for alternatives 2 and 3 in the HA document. I say responsible, but the alternatives presented in this document bear very little relationship to those I actually submitted, and to those which I agreed with the 'nice chaps' from Hyder.
The first point I should make is that I submitted my alternatives as a sort of 'why not consider going in this general direction'. I in no way advocated a 920m tunnel, I realise this is as stupid as everyone else does. However, my 'rough line on a map' has been interpreted in this way, rather than the general suggestion intended. All the traffic control measures were added after I signed the plans off and some changes have also been made after that time. None of the notes I added have been included which explain the thinking behind this suggestion and in general I believe my alternatives have been made to look as bad as possible. I'm also not allowed any comeback on this - unlike the HA I can't revise my proposal and the only way I can 'correct' it is by presenting rebuttal evidence.
My general position is that I feel a Mottram bypass is necessary, but I don't feel that bypassing beyond here is appropriate. However, the other thing I wasn't happy about is that we could only present alternatives that were a 'complete alternative to the proposal'. We could not offer a better route in to Glossop and alternative measures for beyond which is what I would have preferred. My suggestions for a stepped plan including public transport improvements were also not deemed suitable for inclusion.
It seems the only alternative that will be considered to this bypass is another bypass and now that the main alternative route beyond Hollingworth has been built over there seems little point in even considering any alternative.
Well, how interesting is that? It seems that the Highway Agency/Hyder are so obsessed with their project, they even seek to ruin projects that are largely in sympathy, like some kind of jealous lover. It's not enough to change subtle details here and there, they have to embellish and even transform someone else's work without consulting them in an effort to make their own crappy disaster of a road look pre-eminent.
These are actually quite serious allegations (or should be) and we urge 'Stephen' to present that rebuttal evidence to the Inquiry. For all of those who still think the bypass is a project to alleviate Mottram of traffic and pollution, here is evidence that the Highways Agency are loath to co-operate on any other options, even if they are road-based.