It's now a tradition of this blog to make some sort of predictions for the coming year, and despite our absence and the relative quietness of the past 6 months, we feel the need to carry on with this convention.
Firstly, as usual, lets look at how successful we were last year:
More Public Inquiry delays. It was delay, delay, delay - even the act of shutting it down was protracted. So we feel that was right, although it was hard to get this bit wrong.
The economic situation worsening. Again, another no-brainer. But this had the maximum effect of making 4NW drop the Longdendale Bypass from their spending plans early in the year.
Everything else! Unfortunately, Roy Oldham has not stood down - although a little bird tells us that he may stand down as the leader of TMBC in 2010 to concentrate on trying to bring about Bypass 2.0. And of course, Geoff Hoon could not act on the bypass because he resigned as Secretary of State in June last year.
Predictions for the coming year:
Whoever is the next High Peak MP will back the bypass. Yes, thanks in no small part to the sterling work done on his expense claims over at the Tom Levitt's Expenses blog, Tom Levitt has decided to call it a day before he lost out to the Tories anyway - we don't think it's outside the realm of possibility that Levitt may be made a peer, but expect it's more likely he will land some corporate post, perhaps connected with a developer, since he has done his best to concrete-ise the High Peak. Will a new face as the Labour candidate mean they retain the High Peak seat? Whatever happens, we expect the winner to back the bypass (we've already blogged about the Tory candidate Andrew Bingham). We'd expect James Purnell to retain his seat, but with a much reduced majority, and we know that the prospective Tory PPC is pro-bypass anyway.
Little progress with Bypass 2.0. Despite all the hullabaloo about this project since the demise of the Highways Agency project, we feel that the emperor has no clothes. TMBC have promised public consultation next year, so expect lots of 'artists impression'-style images of a quiet traffic-free Mottram, but no images of the hell this will cause elsewhere. We plan to do an extensive article about Bypass 2.0 in the New Year.
And that's your lot.