Saturday, November 13, 2010

Unelected and unrepresentative Lord Pendry speaks out on the bypass cut

Despite Jonathan Reynolds' intervention the other day on the Bypass issue, there has been little noise from Tameside's politicians about the cutting of government funding for the Bypass. The motives for this remain a matter of conjecture, but we're betting that if there is a chance to use other government funding streams to bring about Bypass 2.0, then they don't particularly want to put the government's nose out of joint.

So in the meantime we have Lord Pendry, the former Stalybridge and Hyde MP, being wheeled out to moan and groan. How convenient - someone whose political stature cannot be affected by the whole affair, since he is unelected and can't be toppled.

Pendry gave an interview to the Glossop Chronic's pro-bypass journalist David Jones this week, and a little potted history of his failure to get government ministers of all stripes to build a road over the years.

It's also an example of some of the most contrarian and idiotic reasoning you'll find anywhere. Pendry describes the visit of Fred Mulley, the Labour Minister of Transport between 1974-75, someone who apparently doubted the attractiveness of Longdendale, but agreed with Pendry having stayed there for the weekend after Pendry invited him. Pendry finds it so attractive that he wanted to build another road through it.

Mulley apparently wouldn't be seen driving a car during his tenure as Transport Minister, perhaps to counter any accusations he favoured the road lobby. Perhaps the reason the Longdendale Bypass was never granted during his tenure was because he realised how 'attractive' it was. Nevertheless, he did end up having a road named after him.

We then get another example of Pendry's failure to convince a Minister with the example of Glenda Jackson being almost flattened by a lorry crossing Manchester Road in Tinsle during her tenure as Transport Minister. This is perhaps why the pedestrian crossing later appeared on said road!

But surely the best line here is Pendry's quote about Tesco: “Traffic has increased and it will get even worse in this area when Tesco open their supermarket in Hattersley.” So there we are, there is at least one politician who's prepared to admit Tesco will make things a whole lot worse.

Read the full Pendry interview after the read more link below.


A MAN who has spearheaded the fight for the Longdendale Bypass for more than 30 years is not giving up the battle.

In an exclusive interview with the Reporter and Chronicle, Lord Tom Pendry has pledged the battle will go on.

He told us: “The need for a bypass (through Tintwistle, Hollingworth and Mottram) is greater than ever.

“Traffic has increased and it will get even worse in this area when Tesco open their supermarket in Hattersley.”

Lord Pendry - who during his days as Stalybridge and Hyde MP lived in Tintwistle and Hollingworth - started his battle for a bypass in 1974.

At the time, Labour’s Fred Mulley was the Minister of Transport and one of his responsibilities was building relief roads.

Lord Pendry said: “I asked him about a bypass for Longdendale.

“He said it wasn’t a particularly attractive area, so I invited him up to spend a weekend with me in Tintwistle.

“He came with his wife and his dog. We all went for a walk in the valley. He saw how attractive it was and it made him eat his words.”

This was the first of six visits to Longdendale by Ministers of Transport at the invitation of the then MP.

All saw the beauty of the valley and how it and the lives of the people who lived there were being badly affected by the constant stream of traffic.

Lord Pendry remembers all the visits, in particular one by Linda Chalker.

“We were waiting for her, but she turned up an hour late,” Lord Pendry went on.

“She apologised and said it was due to the heavy traffic.”

Lord Pendry smiled and told the minister that was exactly why she had been invited.

Another high powered visitor was former film star and subsequent Transport Minister Glenda Jackson.

The ex-actress was trying to cross Manchester Road to attend a meeting in the then Tintwistle Parish Council offices when she almost got knocked down by a truck.

In the years that followed, Lord Pendry joined forces with Tameside Council leader, the late Cllr Roy Oldham, to take their fight to Westminster.

They led deputations to see more roads’ ministers, including Stephen Ladyman, all to push Longdendale’s case.

It’s a fight that the Labour peer is keen to continue.

Speaking from the House of Lords, Lord Pendry said he had already pushed the case with a junior minister.

With the help of local MPs and Longdendale Siege group leader Mike Flynn, he promises more action.

Speaking about the recent release which revealed that the Longdendale Bypass wasn’t on the current spending list, Lord Pendry said: “I hope the government will think again, they have said not said directly that there won’t be a bypass and we need one.”

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