Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The last rites for Bypass & Bypass 2.0 - it's over (for now)

Here's a link to the Department for Transport announcement made late yesterday afternoon about the future funding of road schemes.

There's no mention of both the original Bypass scheme, nor Bypass 2.0. Since the statement contains details of all the schemes and projects being considered, that means that both the Bypass 1.0 and Bypass 2.0 projects have finally faded from history. It's all over.

Curiously, there were no questions and comments from the local MPs that have made all the hue and cry over the past few years - neither Jonathan Reynolds, Andrew Bingham, nor Andrew Gwynne made a murmur. Gwynne's silence was particularly interesting, since he's now a shadow transport minister, but not even his twitter carried a mention of the Bypass schemes being given the last rites.

In the title of this blog, we've said that it's over 'for now' - that's because we're still awaiting a decision from the DCLG about 'calling-in' the Hattersley Tesco application. Failure to do so guarantees traffic hell, at least without a widespread and radical plan to halt Tesco, which will doubtless ensure calls for a bypass from certain quarters.

The days are now counting down to that decision. Apart from anything else, if it goes the right way, we get to pack up and go home at last....

Friday, October 08, 2010

Shock horror: previously loyal Glossop Chronicle labels Siege protest a "failure"

We're pretty stunned with the report of the Siege protest in this week's Glossop Chronic. Despite using a similar excuse to the Advertiser that a "fire at the Peniston (sic) end" meant traffic wasn't as heavy as expected (so vehicles heading North on the M1 weren't re-routing via the A616 then?), the papers agrees that "traffic flowed normally through to Mottram and on into Tameside. There were no problems either in Glossop".

Even better, the usual Bypass cheerleader and exemplar of partial journalism David Jones deals a crippling blow to Siege's credibility with the opening paragraph "a demonstration designed to bring rush hour traffic to a standstill failed" (our emphasis).

Worse still, Mike Flynn is quoted as being disappointed that "only five members of the public turned out to support us at Tintwistle".

Well it's hardly surprising - as we pointed out yesterday, Bypass 2.0 offers absolutely nothing to those living in Tintwistle (& Hollingworth) that want a road solution.

But perhaps the real shock here is the complete contrast with the article in this week's Advertiser papers. They said "traffic came to a standstill", quoting Mike Flynn as saying "I think it was very successful and we were very pleased with how it came off" which is the complete opposite of his comment in the Chronic that "it's very disappointing". The Advertiser put the people taking part as "70". On the day, our contact counted around 6 people at Mottram, Flynn himself says five turned up at Tinsle, and the photo of protesters at Mottram in the Chronic has about 14 glum-looking individuals (is that Sean Parker-Perry at the back?), a total of around 25. Now we've always been the first to point out how the virtual TMBC house-journal that is the Advertiser purposefully distorts the news (as well as occasionally stealing our stories, without credit, natch), but the contrast between fantasy and reality can be well and truly appreciated in this little controlled experiment in the manufacture of consent.

We must leave you with a priceless quote from an unnamed Siege protester "we may be back on Monday when the traffic will hopefully be heavier" - from our point of view, if the traffic is too sparse to justify a protest to stop it, then it's clearly far too sparse to justify a bypass to 'solve' a non-existent problem.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Never mind Hattersley, there's already a Tesco in Hollingworth

Bet you didn't know that? It is entirely the case though, that Tesco already have a store in Longdendale. Yes, Tesco own the One-Stop chain of convenience stores, an example of which can be found on Market Street in Hollingworth.

An article in the Times earlier this year highlighted how One-Stop have prices that are often much higher (14%) than those in Tesco stores. These stores flout unfair competition laws, usually because they are often too small to come within the remit of the legislation, and tend to operate in areas where there is less local competition.

Not content with stores in Glossop, Stalybridge and Gee Cross, Tesco have an undercover store in Hollingworth - and are now planning a megastore at Hattersley. The area clearly belongs to Tesco.

Congratulations to Sean & Sian - just don't tell the wife!

Well, it's rare that one of the talked about turns up to talk to us, but it may well be that we have an exclusive. You may remember in a post last week we mentioned that Sean Parker-Perry's mistress - a certain Sian Dominey - has seemingly changed her name on facebook to Sian Parker-Perry (try not to laugh).

Well now the lady in question - or at least someone masquerading as her - left a comment on the post with the following news:

I will be Sian Parker-Perry as of next summer when we get married! Thanks

Of course, this is all very lovely: but there is the small inconvenience in the fact that Sean is still married to someone else - Baron (Tom) Pendry's daughter, Fiona. At this rate, Miss Dominey will be lucky not to be named as co-respondent in the no doubt impending divorce proceedings...

Longdendale Siege's dismal protest failure

Longdendale Siege Committee's protest on Wednesday morning was by all accounts a dismal failure (worthy of failblog, hence the picture). But you wouldn't know it if you'd read the new online article that has appeared on the Advertiser website. They put the apparent lack of westbound traffic in evidence yesterday at Tintwistle down to 'a fire near to Sheffield'. (Incidentally, we love the cretinous banner in the middle of the picture which says "The Best HGV Ban is a Bypass" - HGVs are not planned to be banned from the Bypass).

Skip back in time to this time last week, and Siege Chair Mike Flynn and his mouthpiece at the Glossop Chronicle, David Jones, was predicting gridlock in all directions, in particular from Hollingworth to Glossop via Woolley Lane. Yet pictures taken by a contact of ours show quite clearly, no congested traffic along the A57 at Brookfield at 9.14 a.m.

All in all, our contacts tell us that the road was no more congested than it usually is at this time on a weekday morning. The clear implication for the Longdendale Siege Committee is that if they need to set off pedestrian crossings to cause traffic jams then it suggests the jams are not there in the first place. So what exactly are they campaigning for? If the traffic jams do exist at 9.00 a.m. in the morning, then why the need to activate pedestrian crossings? What difference did it make? The evidence suggests none at all.

But what Siege must also explain, is why they are activating pedestrian crossings at Hollingworth and Tintwistle, when the new plans for Bypass 2.0 offer nothing to either of those villages - it is a Bypass of Mottram only.

Siege are threatening to protest again in a similar manner soon. Perhaps, if they have the courage of their convictions, they should stage a sit-down protest to properly stop the traffic - because the evidence suggests that pedestrian crossings being activated don't make that much difference when the traffic is relatively free-flowing anyway.

No Mottram Bypass would like to encourage all those who feel able to contribute to the documentation of Siege's future protests to send us any pictures, films and reports. We are sure there are some people with time on their hands who would be willing to make the effort!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Longdendale Siege plan 'pedestrian crossing' demonstration next week

Longdendale Siege's Mike Flynn gives the exclusive to this week's Glossop Chronic that he and his chums are planning a novel demonstration next Wednesday morning: they plan to stand at pedestrian crossings along the route of the A57 and A628 throughout Longdendale, constantly activating them in order to create massive tailbacks of traffic between 9.00 and 9.30 a.m. Siege realise that time is running out for Bypass 2.0, since the Comprehensive Spending Review that is due on 20th October may well cut this scheme, as well the original bypass program, which is currently shelved.

This is not a new idea: similar protests were reported in May in Dorset, where some people used the tactic to protest about HGV traffic going through small villages. Now Dorset is one of the few English Counties that has no motorways running through it, and it's not clear that the protestors in that case were calling for new roads to be built. But is must be remembered that Longdendale Siege have continually refused to back calls for a HGV ban along the road, which demonstrates their insincerity about seeking a solution to the problems with congestion.

Of course, the irony is that Longdendale Siege's main constituency has been a mythical one - 'the motorist'. But although we don't believe there is such a thing, from their perspective, it seems a bit daft to alienate those you most rely on for support. If they agree with the government that money is tight, and if they are so desperate, then why not call for a HGV ban? In the Chron article, Flynn mentions the Hattersley Tesco almost as an afterthought, no doubt hoping to attract some passing anger and link the two up.

In the Dorset case, the response to the protest from persons unknown was swift. The button that activated the pedestrian crossing was glued tight. Now there's an idea...