'Go forward and be chok'd with thy ambition!'
Henry VI pt I: 2. 4. 112
18/6/99 It is understandable that some negative comments should continue to be made about the Chester Deeside Transport System (CDTS) on your Points of View pages by those opposed to the scheme. But it is also worth reminding ourselves why CDTS is being proposed and what is hoped to be achieved.
Firstly, just look at the longterm traffic predictions. It's estimated that car traffic could grow by a third over the next 20 years, generating intolerable levels of congestion and pollution. And the result? Chester's attractiveness and competitiveness would be damaged, to say nothing of the effect upon our health.
CDTS is an integral part of Chester's transport and land-use strategy developed by both Cheshire County and Chester City Councils.
If built, Phase One- Hoole to the city centre- would carry more than half a million passengers per year, eliminate about 440,000 car journeys per year that would otherwise choke the city, to benefit residents, workers and visitors alike, and improve access and choice.
The city and county councils have carefully considered the comments received in the recent public consultation and understand the nature and scale of local objections.
The councils have decided to move to the next stage, which may well involve a public inquiry. This would provide the opportunity for arguments for and against the scheme to be heard by an independent inspector. Further consultations will take place with relevant organisations and local residents to consider the detailed design and look for ways of minimising any unwanted effects.
Cllr Peter Byrne, Chairman of CDTS Steering Group, Cheshire County Council, Hough Green Chester
1/7/99 Chester is a small city of about 80,000 people in the urban area, but it functions as a major regional centre and tourist attraction.
Its unusual and attractive historic centre is struggling to cope with the daily onslaught of traffic and the demand for city centre parking.
Over the next 20 years, car traffic could grow by more than a third. More car traffic means more noise, more pollution along with added dangers, and the inevitable delays and lost opportunities to enjoy all that Chester has to offer. A new approach is needed urgently to avoid intolerable levels of congestion, noise and fumes.
Much-improved public transport will encourage more people to use it; to do this we need to make buses quicker and more reliable. I believe that CDTS can help achieve this for those who live and work here, come to shop and sightsee or come for business or leisure. Everybody would benefit from less congestion, fumes and noise if car travellers chose clean, efficient public transport instead.
Cllr Sandra Rudd, Sutton Close Mickle Trafford
2/7/99 It may surprise lifelong Cestrians that I share their concern for our environment.
Stopping needless car use, fighting for a better quality of life and encouraging alternatives to car use are very much on my agenda too.
What I cannot share is their ultra-pessimistic view of CDTS. It is not £60m but £7m for Phase One- no decisions have been made, or are about to be made, about Phases Two and Three nor any funds identified.
CDTS will not cause devastation to wildlife areas- environmental measures to mitigate any impact are identified in the Draft Environmental Statement. In some aspects, an environmental gain is expected from the proposals.
Cars are a fact of life that we cannot ignore, in fact we ignore the prediction that car traffic could rise by a third over the next 20 years at our peril. Practical solutions have to be found and CDTS, which will carry half-a-million passengers a year saving 440,000 car trips, using environmentally-friendly vehicles, is too good an opportunity to miss.
Cllr Peter Byrne, Chairman of CDTS Steering Group, Cheshire County Council, Hough Green Chester
2/7/99 As a resident of Greenbank Road in Hoole, running parallel to the proposed new guided bus route, I am writing to offer my sincere support to this bold and exciting new initiative for Chester.
I look forward to seeing a reduction of the traffic congestion on Hoole Road, while Chester city centre continues to thrive as a commercial and retail centre.
From the point of view of myself and my young family the scheme would be improved by the addition of a local stop so that we can use it ourselves and I hope that this will be taken into consideration when the final plans are completed.
Nic Munro, Hoole
22/7/99 Mr Hobbs is perfectly entitled to express his opinion, but he is not entitled to misrepresent the facts about the county council's application for a Transport & Works Act (TWA) Order for CDTS Phase 1. Please let me put the record straight.
1. The TWA Order plans show the centre line and "limits of deviation" of the proposed route. These are clearly set out in the documents on public display. The plans have been presented in the way the TWA rules require.
2. Treatment of wildlife habitats is set out in, and controlled, by the Envinonmental Statement, a legally required part of the TWA application. The bus lane associated with CDTS Phase I barely touches the conservation area near the Northgate pub and only modest roadworks are proposed here with no significant impact on the conservation area. Indeed as recognised by the Conservation Area Advisory Committee, there would be a benefit through improved surface crossing ot the Inner Relief road.
3. There is no intention to 'sell off' the busway. The order would simply give the necessary powers to contact the private bus companies to operate the service.
4. The order does not remove any public rights of way and refers only to private rights of way. Anyone affected in this way has been contacted directly as part of the order process. Indeed no public rights of way are affected.
5. Thc public consultation results will form part of the evidence given to the Public Inquiry and are referred to in the Environmental Statement.
Mr Hobbs is also wrong in stating that the former railway land has now now been transferred to the county council. The legal process has started but has not yet been completed. When the land is in county council ownership this derelict, rubbish strewn railway line can be properly cared for.
I hope this helps reassure readers who would otherwise be misinformed and unnecessarily anxious. I would also remind people wishing to object that objections should be sent to the TWA Processing Unit, DETR, 76 Marsham Street, London SWIP 4DR by 11th August.
County Councillor Peter Byrne
22/7/99 It was no surprise that the city council recently voted overwhelmingly to support the county council's proposal to construct a busway on the disused Mickle Trafford railway line.
The opportunity to connect the motorway system to the city centre via a park and ride interchange was too important to be lost.
Some have argued that the line should be turned into a linear park for the enjoyment of our citizens. However almost half of CDTS phase one runs through a cutting and this restricts any views severely and would provide a rather uninteresting walk. The cycleway on the other hand benefits from the long cutting because it is both flat and sheltered from the wind.
Nevertheless I would like to see existing railway lines used much more intensively to provide access to the city. For example, a frequent service on the Chester-Wrexham line coupled with a halt at Saltney would benefit the residents of Saltney and Lache Park. Even a shuttle service from Saltney to Chester could help case traffic congestion.
Cllr Davin Challen, Cliveden Road, Chester
29/7/99 The growing tide of half-truths, distortions and exaggerations being pedalled by the CDTS opponents shows how desperate they are becoming as they steadily lose the argument. Congratulations to Countv Councillor Peter Byrne for debunking some of their disinformation in last week's Standard.
Let's remember some other facts: 1. There will be a walkway/cycleway alongside the CDTS- it's not a case of one or the other. 2. CDTS will actually Improve the fauna and flora- the Environmental Statemcnt shows that with the additional planting associated with the scheme, the amount of wildlife along the route will be more than now. 3. the public consultation showed popular support for the proposals. 4. None of the objectors has yet put forward a serious alternative to reduce car traffic in Hoole Road and the city centre. 5. Those who see walking and cycling as the universal panacea to Chester's traffic problems overlook the needs of the old, infirm, people with heavy shopping, and those of us who live too far from the city centre to travel by those means. 6. The park and ride site at Mannings Lane will scupper Tesco's ambitions to build on the same Iand, thus preventing buildings going up in the green belt.
Finally, in last week's edition, Ann Jones- allegedly the CPRE's local representative- objected to the CDTS because she said it would mean more buses in Frodsham Street. Her outburst is strangely at odds with CPRE's national pro-public transport stance. More people using public transport inevitably means more buses!
John Gilespie, Realist and CPRE sympathiser, Mickle Trafford
Some responses to the above letter may be found here
5/8/99 Cheshire County Council and Chester City Council members have recently voted overwhelmingly to support the CDTS Phase One proposals showing their commitment to tackling Chester's traffic problems. Even though Ann Jones of the Council for the Preservation of Rural England is in possession of all the information that is available, she and others still continue to misrepresent the facts thereby causing unnecessary alarm and misleading people as to the impact of the proposals. For example:
There is no chance of a superstore being built in the area. Such a development would be against the County's 2011 Structure Plan, Chester's emerging Local Plan, the Local Transport Plan, and the government's transport policies as set down in the Transport White Paper. Is this denial strong enough? Will Ann Jones now accept that this is the situation and that we can put this canard to bed. There ain't going to be a superstore there.
Any developments planned for the Sealand Basin and Wrexham Road are not dependent on CDTS Phase Two and Three but upon the Local Plan being prepared at the moment for Chester City Council.
There will not be a "serious loss of public green space" at Northgate Village.
Local people will be served by a stop on the CDTS route at Newton Lane.
The project is not a waste of money. Half a million car journeys a year into Chester city centre will bc avoided. Complementary measures on Hoole Road are being worked on at the moment to ensure that these journeys are not replaced by other cars taking up the space.
(We wonder just what these measures will be?)
People who live near the line will certainly have their own fears, many of which will be able to be allayed in the final detailed design. Please contact us to see what can be done to minimise the scheme's impact upon you if you do have such fears. And if you do want to press for a public inquiry, then both Cheshire County Council and Chester City Council have already asked the Secretary of State to hold one, so I should think that it is a reasonable bet that one will be held.
Peter Byrne, 117 Hough Green Chester
12/8/99 Correcting some of the misinformation about CDTS. My position regarding their proposals has been clear from the onset and having become increasingly involved in the more detailed planning I am more convinced than ever that the satisfactory completion of all three stages of the CDTS route will provide tremendous benefits in planning, transport and environmental terms for all the citizens of Chester. It must continually be borne in mind that the current proposals are only stage one of a three stage programme.
I would have considerably more respect for the Ieaders of the anti-group if they resisted the temptation to continually spread misinformation, dis-information and at best half truths about the proposals.
Mr Cunliffe in his letter of the 5th August states and I quote "probably few out of towners will use the park and ride facility". This is deliberately misleading at best and untrue at worst. Evidence: we have just passed our I million user on the existing park and ride sites. With the new site positioned at the end of the motorway and with an unobstructed run into the city the figures for use will if anything be understated.
He also continues to spread the rumour and innuendo regarding a possible Tesco development. This has been denied by Andy Farrell, head of planning and Cllr Byrne. In order to again reiterate the correct position, I would confirm that this is in order to build park and ride sites on the edge of cities is a fully accepted exception of the planning policy in respect of green belt land. (common sense dictates that such sites cannot be built in the urban areas) However, no other exceptions exist and Tesco have been told in no uncertain terms that such a proposal is contrary to the current planning policy, and further will not be allowed under the proposed new Local Plan. Hopefully we will not see this red herring again!
In Lillian Burns's letter she states and I quote "access for cyclists unclear". Not true! Sustrans are proceeding and I have a letter from them confirming in writing that the intention is for the cycleway to be fully open hy Midsummer's day 2000.
She also makes the point that the walkway/cycleway will digress from the main track. This is correct, but the Director of Sustrans stated very clearly at a public meeting in Chester that they would as a matter of policy do this automatically, whether the guided busway was part of the proposal or not.
It is also regularly contended by the anti-leaders that there are no complimentary measures being devcloped to improve the traffic conditions on Hoole Road. Totally untrue! The officers arc working on the details at the present time, they will be discussed fully with members in September and eventually become an integral and obligatory part (ie. compulsory, like it or not) of the local transport plan. The implementation of such proposals will be an an integral and obligatory part (he said it again) of the whole CDTS plan for Chester.
Much is made by the anti-group Ieadersof the small reduction in traffic which would allegedly toccur following the completion of Stage 1. Your readers will be aware of the well known and well publicised figures, some say 30% of the projected growth in the traffic numbers over the next decade or so. Chester's access roads and historical/ retail centre just could not cope with much growth and therefore a significantcomponent of the long term planning of CDTS has been to recognise and to some extent anticipate this problem by ensuring that all three stages of the CDTSroute are an integral part of the transport plan for Chester.
John R Boughton, Conservative Highways Spokesman, Stanmore, 8 Glebe Meadows Mickle Trafford, Chester
Around two and a half years later, in January 2003, Cllr Boughton seems to have come round, as the following news item indicated:
"Parish councillors in Guilden Sutton, supported by local City Cllr John Boughton (Con, Christleton), have put forward suggestions which would extend the cycleway, which at present ends in Hoole, to the village. If approved, the link would run from Guilden Sutton Lane near the railway bridge towards Hoole Village where it would join the disused railway line from Mickle Trafford to Shotton, giving access to the cycleway network.
Parish councillors point out this would enable local youngsters to cycle to Upton High School avoiding the busy A41 and provide cyclists with a route to the city centre".
12/8/99 Censorship is indeed an ugly word but Audrey Hodgkinson and her fellow Anti-CDTS members should also realise that misrepresenting the facts in a deliberate attempt to mislead people is not very pleasant either.
The posters referred to were removed from county council premises because they were inaccurate. That is not censorship.
The facts about CDTS are:
19/8/99 The CDTS opponents do not help what little case they have by spreading disinformation and scaremongering. The torrent of nonsense in the responses to my Ietter (see above), prompted me to re-check the facts and delve a little further.
That so many including Chester CPRE vice chairman Lillian Burns rushed into print without bothering to check the facts, is astonishing. The old rail Iine was not single track as you assert Mrs Burns, but double track, as old maps clearly show. Hence the council's view that a two-way busway is eminently feasible. The footway/cycleway will diverge from the busway at some places but remember that SUSTRANS said they want it that way, even if the busway is not built, so that the stroll/cycle ride is varied.
Lillian Burns asked how I know there is popular support for the CDTS proposals. That fact is in the report to the county council's environment committee in May- 52 per cent of respondents to the public consultation supported it with only (only?) 39 per cent against. The rest were don't knows who can't be counted either way. I'm sure County Hall would supply you with a copy of this report Mrs Burns.
CDTS will improve the flora and fauna. The environmental statement prepared by landscape consultants Chris Blandford Associates states "new planting will make goodd any short-term damage and create a more diverse habitat to the benefit of a wider range of species''. Perhaps that's why the RSPB has not objected to CDTS, while English Nature, thenational body with responsibility for flora and fauna, says it is "soundly based". Westbourne Road resident Gary Hughs letter, on the other hand, asserts that CDTs will not improve the flora and fauna. I know who I place more faith in!
Mr Hughes also said he couldn't understand how the park and ride site at Mannings Lane would block Tesco's ambitions for a superstore there. It's simple- the council will purchase the land, compulsorily if necessary, and then Tesco won't be able to build on land they no longer own!
At least Mrs Bruce in her letter last week candidly admitted that her objection is about the loss of view from her back windows. (She said nothing of the sort)That is understandable. The other CDTS opponents would do better to confess that is their real concern- they'd have more credibility as a result.
John Gilespie, Realist and CPRE sympathiser, Mickle Trafford, Chester
PS. Although I sympathise with CPRE's national aims to protect England's rural countryside, I am put off becoming a member because of the local CPRE stance of opposing all development everywhere. A more sensible realistic approach is neeeded.
Never mind eh? CPRE will just have to stumble on without him
26/8/99 I wonder if your readers are as concerned as I am that correspondents about CDTS choose to remain anonymous yet make unwarranted accusations about very serious matters? (That's rich)
Firstly, would so called Chester Reader "get real" and tell us who they are when making ridiculous but nevertheless serious allegations about 'nods and winks' to developers. To repeat my words to another correspondent on this issue "there ain't going to be any commercial development on this site".
Secondly, there is absolutely no question of the guided busway being turned into a road or bypass for general traffic. This fanciful suggestion has never been on the cards- but don't let the truth get in the way of a good story! (Actually, it has, being one of the uses for the old line proposed by Cheshire County Council in 1984)
Let's not forget the bigger picture in all this. CDTS Phase One is a small but essential building block in the creation of a modern transport system for Chester. It is one part of a bigger package of (as yet mysterious)measures to reduce the impact of traffic in the City, and keep it moving and prosperous into the future.
County Councillor Peter Byrne
28/8/99 i have just found you web site listed on altavista linked
in to other sites
i suport the schem because it will help reduce the amount of trafic on the road. to meny cars on the road lead to dely and lost buisnes.
hope the letters and coments on these web pages will be taken in to consideration by the goverment.
have writen giving my suport to the scheme but asking some questions i want answers to.
any one no where the public inquire will be held or when
The debate rises to new heights... but see this letter- a new convert!!
16/9/99 I note that anti-CDTS campaigner W R Hodgkinson is actively seeking support from people who want to return heavy rail use to the redundant Mickle Trafford-Shotton railway line.
He is encouraging a group of heavy rail supporters, through the columns of the Railway Magazine to support the anti-CDTS campaign.
Strange bedfellows indeed! It is hard to imagine the impact that reintroducing heavy rail would have, not only for the local residents but for the environment along the route and the footway/ cycleway.
The track is gone and there is no practical prospect of the route becoming an active railway line again. We are convinced that the guided bus solution is the most appropriate and viable form of transport for this former railway line. CDTS would be a flexible and environmentally-friendly form of transport using modern vehicles which would be low-noise, low-polluting and easily accessible to all.
I welcome the Public Inquiry where all the issues can be openly and fairly considered.
County Cllr Peter Byrne
23/3/00 I should have thought the Public Inquiry into CDTS proposals would have quietened the clamour of the protesters until the outcome is known.
However, every edition of your paper contains a highly suspect account of what is supposed to have taken place at the inquiry. Only those who where there are able to appreciate to what amazing extent the proceedings are being twisted.
I should first like to refer to a point repeated constantly in your correspondents' letters, namely that the county council hired a QC. Of course we did. What would you expect the county council to do?
Should we have exposed our staff to the QCs of the Tescos of this world and risked losing our case because we did not make the most of our submissions?
The implication that the county council should not have employed its best resources in order to win its case is so bizarre that I wonder what planet those who are making this point inhabit.
When we come to the argument upon which the inquiry turned, it is quite amazing to see some of the points made by Mrs. Chapman, who is the consultant on cycling matters employed by the Anti-CDTS Campaign Groups. (She may have been hired in other ways but when I heard her she was their cycling consultant.)
Mrs Chapman made the point that the money earmarked for CDTS would have been better spent on public transport, bus priority measures and facilities for cyclists and walkers. (In her most recent letter, she adds the county council should double the number of trains running between Chester and the metropolitan areas, though how the county council could possibly have influence on train operators to produce this result she does not say. However, if she reads the Local Transport Draft Plan now out for consultation she will see that the county council shares similar aspirations for rail services, but as they have no responsibility for them, they can only aspire.)
But Mrs Chapman says the county council should use the money for better facilities for walkers and cyclists. She must have known that part of the deal in CDTS is that there is a walkway/cycleway along the whole route, and that is being constructed this very minute by Sustrans at an enormous cost funded from various sources (including the council). Indeed, even before it is complete, it is already popular, especially at weekends, with many, many people already taking advantage of the completed sections before it is open.
Was Mrs Chapman not told that this was part of the proposals? Or did she know and choose to ignore it? Or did she know and didnt like the idea of buses going past on their own dedicated and separate pathway every eight minutes?
Whichever way she saw it, she really couldn't argue that the county council was not funding facilities for walking and cycling when these are part and parcel of the very scheme she is attacking.
This is especially so in view of the huge progress made in addressing transport issues locally. What has been achieved so far is impressive. Witness:
Wrexham Road buslane/cyclway, constructed at a cost of several hundred thousand pounds and proving a great success.
Hough Green bus lane due to be extended soon
Sealand Road bus lane, to be consulted upon soon
Proposals for better pedestrian use of the Inner Ring Road currently at an active stage.
The Northgate cycle contraflow lane soon to come.
The Canal Towpath cycle route being built this coming year from funds deriving from the county's involvement in the workplace charging levy. Add to these schemes costing hundreds of pounds more, contained in the Draft Local Transport Plan.
In view of all these points, is Mrs. Chapman still saying the council should spend more on walking/cycling facilities? I should like to see her response to that particular question.
And when she has given her response, perhaps she could say whether she still believed (as she said at the public inquiry and repeated in your letters page) that the money being spent on CDTS should be spent elsewhere in the county.
Because she should know (she has been told repeatedly enough) that the money is not Cheshire's money: If it is not spent on the CDTS, it will not be spent in Cheshire at all but in Merseyside or Manchester or Hemel Hemstead or Harrogate or Hampshire or wherever the Government is persuaded there is a good case. But not, I repeat again for Mrs. Chapman's benefit in Cheshire or Chester.
It is amazing that someone who claims to be a transport consultant should be so unknowing about the way government funding works. Or perhaps she did know but kept quiet about it because the Anti-CDTS Campaign Groups, for whom she was working, kept making this same point in its public argument. She can't, though, have it both ways.
We now come to a particularly strongly emphasised point in the Anti-CDTS argument, that the Park & Ride scheme will actually encourage car travel.
Park & Ride has been very successful in Chester. There is ample research evidence from all over the country (and elsewhere) that it cuts down on the number of cars entering the city centres.
The Anti-CDTS Campaign Groups makes two points about this. Firstly, they say that many people who live in Chester will decide that it is better for them to get in their cars and drive out to get to the Park & Ride than do what they normally do walk/cycle/bus it into the city.
I am sure there will be people perverse enough to for this but it will not be a significant number and there is no evidence from other P&R sites that this is a serious concern.
Secondly, they say there is research which says P&R site encourage more use of cars. They are right. One researcher came up with this conclusion in one city (I think it was Oxford but I am not sure). However, set against are literally dozens of research findings which say exactly the opposite: That P&R cuts the number of journeys into a city centre. I leave it to your readers to decide between the two positions.
Finally, I address the crucial point in the whole business, the CDTS is intended primarily to reduce the number of cars entering the centre of the city by intercepting them at some point on the periphery and transferring them to public transport. It will do that, thus saving about half a million journey a year into the city centre.
No amount of persuading people to walk or cycle will persuade one of those motorists targeted by CDTS, to get on their bikes or walk.
And that was the point made to Mrs. Chapman by the county council's QC at the public inquiry, to which her reply was cycling and walking should be encouraged more by the council.
Cllr Peter Byrne. Hough Green
19.4.01 A very rare FOR...
I am somewhat puzzled why my letter regarding the CDTS campaign took a number of weeks to be printed yet Mrs H returns from holiday and lo and behold she is back again within days churning out her same old arguments taking up valuable space that could no doubt be used by others wishing to air their views about non CDTS matters. Does she have preferential treatment I wonder?
Mrs H I have taken on board your figures and many genuine heartfelt comments ably expressed by those who support your views and I respect them but I am grateful that free speech prevails and my views were eventually aired in response. I frequently travel from Waverton, (with its own associated traffic problem 'Chester residence'), to within 100 yards of the route out of familiy necessity in caring capacity at all times of the day. Time demands that I use my car for most of those journey but I have both cycled the route, not on pavements or through red lights, and walked on a number of occasions. I am not the motorist clone you refer to in your typically emotive and often exaggerate terms. I also lead walks miles up hill and down dale in sunshine and rain, enjoy rail travel, and occasionally use buses though no longer from Waverton since the latest routing has significantly increased journey times.
Living the first nineteen years of my life in Newry Park and having travelled on the old Cheshire lines route from both Liverpool Road Station and Northgate I know our battle ground well. I,too,have future generations in mind and wish to see the last remaining travel corridor utilised to its full potential i.e. shared by passengers in whatever form of transport is ultimately chosen, walkers, and cyclists. If two large steam trains could lumber past one another in days gone by there is room for both vehicles and users with the minimum amount of regarding of the original route. The frequency of transit vehicles would be minimal in comparison to that currently allowed over burdened arteries into our city and should not therefore cause too much of an intrusion to those sharing the route for their own pursuits.
I, believe it or not, have leanings towards green policies but not to the detriment of others who for their own reasons cannot slow down and enjoy the world around them. The millions of pounds required for the project are an investment for the future generations protecting them from the pollution and mental stress that will still be generated if we do not lower traffic density along Hoole Road and other areas congested by those not prepared to be part of the cultural change necessary to enable an effect transport policy to be adopted by the city.
Your aside re pedestrian crossings is a perfect example of how extreme your views are. I am sure there are may who use those in Hoole Road, who having campaigned long and hard for their views to be heard and accepted winced at your closing comment. Some of us live and necessity work in the real world.
Whichever way the decision goes I will respect and have to live with it and will do so hanging on to the belief that we do live in a democratic society managed, thankfully, by a majority of people who earnestly believe they are doing their best and have to live, like us, with the consequences of their actions.
For the benefit of the environment I will take up no more valuable space about this issue, save a few tress and watch the traffic that, since the introduction of red warning paint, has reduced its speed as it thundered up & down the A41 - but that's another issue. Save a tree yourself Mrs.H and give us all a break!
Mr. R.B. Milward. Waverton.
A few responses to Mr Milward's letter are here...
30/11/01 In response to recent press reports of Chester's Way Ahead's support for the CDTS, I should like to say that the Community Plan is not a city council publication.
It was in fact produced by Chester in Partnership, a network of public, private, voluntary and community organisations committed to working together to improve the delivery of services across the Chester district.
Secondly, the extensive consultation exercises prior to the production of the plan produced 75 responses in favour of an integrated transport system for the city, including CDTS, and 55 against, so it is fair to say that the Community Plan does reflect public opinion.
Robin Wendt, Chairman, Chester in Partnership
To find out who 'Chester in Partnership' actually are and to read some responses to Mr Wendt's letter, go here...
15/2/02 It was very refreshing to read your editorial welcoming the government's decision on CDTS.
It was a pleasant change from the mish-mash of half-truths and untruths which will now welcome us into spring from the pens of the anti-CDTS letter writers and the fertile imagination of Mrs Hodgkinson as she thinks up ever wilder things CDTS will do or won't do.
I should like to put one or two facts into the equation, though I'm sure the response of those opposed will be: 'My mind's made up, don't confuse me with facts'.
Firstly, the cost. And these are real facts. The guided busway will cost about £10 m (not a firm figure but a working guestimate.) Half of this will be a direct grant from the Government. The other half will be permission to borrow.
The Government will increase the county's SSA to take account of most of the borrowing costs. So the impact on the county's budget will be quite small. There will be an impact, but Chester council taxpayers will be paying far, far less for CDTS than they are already paying for, for instance, the Handforth bypass near Wilmslow, or they will pay for the proposed Alderley Edge bypass.
(For that is something else that is often overlooked- the cost will be borne by the people of Cheshire, not just Chester.)
In her recent letter, Mrs Hodgkinson raised the spectre of house prices again. I recommend anyone worried about this to look in your excellent property pages and see whether house prices are under threat. The only threat to house prices at the moment comes from Mrs Hodgkinson. Chester is a thriving, robust, economically attractive centre, pulling in millions of visitors, shoppers and workers.
These increased numbers cannot come by car because there is not room on the roads of the city centre. Only if we fail to cater properly for economic growth will Chester's house prices begin to be under threat. This is what I mean when I say that Mrs Hodgkinson is the only threat to house prices at the moment. CDTS is an essential part of Chester's response to the modern world. It will be clean, fast and efficient (and, despite what readers may have been led to believe, comparatively cheap), carrying an estimated 500,000 passengers.
If Chester wishes to become a backwater and decline gently into a genteel poverty, it can do without attracting thousands of tourists every day.
But if Chester wishes to continue its wonderful prosperity into the 21st century, it will welcome CDTS and the message it gives- that Chester is going to continue to be healthy economically and cater for its visitors, shoppers and tourists.
Peter Byrne, County Councillor, City Division, Hough Green, Chester
You can read some angry reader's responses to the above here- and Cllr Byrne's response to those letters below...
Letters against the Busway
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 Letters in favour parts I and 2
Write to us! Your comments are always very welcome