Monday, May 11, 2009

Public Inquiry - Bywaters leaps into action!

We have proof positive that the Highways Agency simply haven't been paying attention to a word the Public Inquiry Inspector says.

For the past couple of weeks, stalwart objector John Hall has been emailing Persona Associates reminding them of the wishes of the Inspector regarding the closure of the Public Inquiry (you'll remember our blog about it the other week).

Last week, the programme officer Brenda Taplin was forced to email the Highways Agency Bypass chief Alex Bywaters to get some movement. Brenda very handily passed the email, along with Bywater's reply, on to John Hall, and it's available to view here (opens PDF).

For those who don't want to open the PDF, Brenda reminds Bywaters of the Inspector's request, and stresses the urgency in a very 'scolding' manner.

Bywaters replies, portraying himself as piggy in the middle: he says that, from his end, the respective legal departments of the Treasury and the Department for Transport are 'debating' something. He then asks Brenda if the Planning Inspectorate know what's going on!

The immediate question is - does this mean that neither the people in charge of the Bypass project nor the programme officer for the PI know what's going on? On first impressions, it would seem not*.

The other observation we can make is that Bywaters has failed to update the programme officer about the reasons for the delay. She has to email him, and then only after being mithered by an objector. Bywater's closing line "I want and end to this as much as the Inspector!" is ridiculous given that Taplin has had to remind him of the Inspector's request. It would seem to us that neither of them are motivated unless prodded by someone else.

Given that this charade is currently costing more than £7,000 a day, you wonder what it will take to get someone somewhere to do something to end this farce...

*As for what the DfT and Treasury are debating - well, we'll blog about our own views on what that is in the days to come.

No comments: