Thursday, February 18, 2010

Anthony McKeown's thumbs-down for Bypass 2.0

Regular readers will know that we've always paid a certain amount of attention to the self-styled blogging High Peak Borough Councillor, Anthony McKeown. Readers will also know that  McKeown has always been a steadfast supporter of plans for the Bypass (although seemingly not enthusiastic enough to either formally express his support in writing to the promoter, nor do so at the Public Inquiry), faithfully backing the line of the Council, be it under Labour control, or more recently Tory.

He's also in the past been a bit of a cheerleader for the MP Tom Levitt - but all of that started to change around the time of the MPs expenses scandal, when McKeown became the first in his party to formally criticise Levitt's behaviour.

With a new blog the other day, it now seems that McKeown is inching away from support for a Bypass. Have a look at this quote (emphasis added):

"Now my initial thoughts on the proposals is whilst I still support the idea of full bypass between Mottram and Tintwistle, I’m not sure on the basis of the information so far that the proposals suggested will have enough of an effect for the cost, and that alternative options such as supporting the building of a new station at Gamesley may be a better way to go."

Firstly, let's put aside Ant's dewey-eyed words about the original bypass plan: surely only Roy Oldham now supports the original bypass plans, and a belief in that discredited idea is about as sincere as the faith the captain of the Titanic displayed in the integrity of his ship's hull. Have a closer look - yes, Ant is saying that alternatives are preferable to a road.

But the best bit is perhaps reserved for the next paragraph in his blog:

"I’m also aware that whilst various bits are suggested within Glossopdale so far neither the County nor the Borough Council’s have been fully consulted / involved in drawing up these proposals."

That's pretty devastating for any bypass believer, and clearly illustrates the lack of continuity between the old Bypass plans and Bypass 2.0. Given that McKeown is the Secretary of High Peak Labour Party, it looks like a sea-change, albeit a change in the views of the current opposition. Will the new Labour PPC for High Peak follow suit?

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