Firstly, to clarify what's happened, 4NW did indeed vote to drop the funding for the Bypass beyond the 2015/2016 funding period - but they decided to drop this scheme alone and not others. This scheme is clearly now recognised as a bad egg. Furthermore, a very expensive and unpopular bad egg.
Much the same can be said of Tom Levitt, but his angry press release has meant that his mask has slipped, and it exposes the true reasons for this scheme plus the usual idiotic contradictions.
Firstly, the contradictions. At a time of economic crisis and recession turning into depression, Levitt chooses to berate the 4NW forum for not pushing the North West Region beyond the 35% they are already over budget. Or perhaps he feels that other schemes should suffer to enable the bypass? Does he think 4NW should have chosen to drop the Metrolink Renewals or Extensions? The Blackpool & Fleetwood Tramway upgrade? The Crewe Rail Gateway? Or Yellow School Buses? All public transport schemes a lot 'greener' than a proto-motorway which were also considered in the Regional Funding Allocation.
But Levitt's press release also exposes the truth of what the Bypass actually represents; one key phrase - "It is a road of strategic importance which must be built".
That's it there - never mind bollocks about relieving 3 villages of traffic congestion - it is of strategic importance. And the strategy is to enable goods and freight to travel more swiftly between the East and West ports along Trans-European routes and to Manchester Airport. Thanks for letting everyone finally know Tom!
The truth is that as well as being a bad egg, Levitt is a bad loser. 4NW weren't convinced by the arguments, or all the politicians throwing their weight around in the preceding months.
So what are Levitt & James Purnell to do now (the latter is so 'furious' about it that he hasn't even mentioned it on his website, unlike Tom)? Why, they're off the see the Transport Minister, huffing and puffing and throwing more weight around. Plus ça change...
*entry on 26th February
**UPDATE, 27/02/2009: The Buxton Advertiser has the first online copy, and yesterday's Glossop Chronicle has an extensive article which doesn't credit us with the scoop (quelle surprise!)