A Virtual Stroll Along the Old Mickle Trafford-Deeside Railway- now The Millennium Greenway

What the People Really Think part 17: Letters to these pages and the Chester press in opposition to the CDTS Guided Busway

Pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 Letters in favour of the Busway parts 1 | 2 | 3

Although not strictly pertaining to the busway debate, we thought you'd be interested in exploring the character of one of the chief proponents of CDTS, Labour councillor and Leader of Chester City Council, John Price, by reading an article by him published in the Chester Evening Leader, 14th November 2002:

"No matter where you go- Chester, Wrexham, Cheshire, Flintshire or anywhere else- it seems councillor for the world, Klaus Armstrong-Braun, will be there.
Fact, he is not and never has been a Chester city councillor. He's a Green Party member on Flintshire County and Saltney Town counclls, both in another country.
He is, apparently, also a member of Chester Green Party and this fact alone seems enough to confuse the media and others into awarding him the title of councillor when he's shoving his oar into Chester issues.
We wouldn't dream of constantly interfering in the affairs of neighbouring authorities and I'm sure the good people of Saltney would wish him to concentrate on the issues they elected him to deal with.
The recent news that credit card firm, MBNA, plans to expand its Chester operation, bringing a further 2,700 Jobs, would be welcomed by most people, but guess what, our councillor for the world wants to block It.
There are a number of people around Chester, you know who they are, who spend their lives saying no to everything.
My view is that we want Chester to "breathe and grow". We pride ourselves on our past, but we live in the present and must work hard to ensure Chester also has a progressive, prosperous future.
Newts like to crawl under stones. How about it Klaus?"

Charming, eh? It produced the following response:

16/11/02 Once upon a time we had to put up with the Bob Clough Parker column making its weekly appearance in our local press and now, it seems, our Evening Leader has inexplicably lumbered us with regular doses of the tiny thoughts of Chester City Council leader, John Price.
At least one got a laugh out of Bob every now and then, which is much more than can be said for this individual.
For I could hardly believe my eyes when on Thursday I read Cllr Price's 'A View from the Town Hall' column which consisted in part of a deeply personal and nasty attack upon the character and work of Saltney councillor Klaus Armstrong Braun.
A View from the Town Hall? Surely shome mistake. If I worked at the Town Hall I would be insulted and embarrassed, for these are nothing but the personal and ill-considered prejudices of a bitter individual.
I though this most recent edition was a particular disgrace.
What does it matter if Cllr Armstrong Braun is or is not an elected Chester City councillor? Are they arrogant enough to consider themselves the only ones entitled to an opinion about important local issues? Does the grotesque MBNA expansion not, then, have any bearing upon the lives of people over the Welsh border? It's only a mile away, for God's sake.
Think again. Corporate greed, traffic chaos and loss of wildlife habitat recognise no national boundaries that I know of.

Cllr Price even calls into question- due, inexplicably, to Cllr Armstrong Braun being a member of the Chester Green Party- the competence of the very media who have chosen to print his ravings to distinguish whether he is or is not a 'councillor'...

The tone of Cllr Price's article made it clear that, with the possible exception of his own back garden, when it comes to profitable (to some) urban sprawl, he really doesn't give a damn for the green belt or those residents who do what little they can to defend it.
Having already contributed to the erosion of our local democratic process by the imposition of the so-called 'cabinet' style of local government, Cllr Price now, it seems, is anxious to discredit and silence all those naïve enough to hold views that may differ from his own or the party line- not that there's any difference.
If nothing else, history has taught us that there is a word for those in power who would seek to suppress free speech and the unencumbered exchange of diverse views and ideas.

"Stick to your patch, Klaus" he pathetically warns. In sharp contrast to Price and far too many of his cronies- keen to fill our city with 'luxury' flats locals could never afford and sell off our green belt to any developer or moneylender that cares to ask, I get the feeling that Cllr Armstrong Braun's 'patch', in the true spirit of 'think global, act local', is no less than Planet Earth itself.
We desperately need more like him in these times of 'Big Brother knows best'. His persistence and dedication in the face of mindless insults such as comprised Cllr Price's article are an example to us all and I, for one, am proud to know him.

Cllr Price remarks in the course of this very article that, "There are a number of people around Chester, you know who they are, who spend their lives saying 'no' to everything".
We do indeed know who they are, Cllr Price, for we- the Evening Leader readers, residents and business people who love Chester for what it is, not for what can be screwed from it- are they.
For one assumes your snide comment was meant as yet another puny attack, this time upon those many local people throughout the region who do indeed disagree with many of the ludicrous planning decisions that you and your fellow councillors and planners have foisted upon us of recent years.
But, make no mistake- we say 'yes' to very much more! It's what keeps us giving our time and money- no generous expenses and perks for us- to fight for the things we believe in, such as the preservation of Chester as a beautiful, historic and small city- for therein lies its true present and future prosperity- and an end to the assumption that our city, both within and without the walls, can be continually chipped away at by developers for their own self-interested ends with, for reasons best known to themselves, the complicity and blessing of far too many local politicians.

Anything is possible if you really want it. And, against the odds, we do have our successes every now and then. The Electric Light Building was saved in spite of the plans of Chester City Council, supported by the Civic Trust. The Chester Amphitheatre may, at long last, be properly excavated and displayed, despite the hand-wringing prevarication of Chester City Council when they did nothing to prevent it being built upon. And, of course, it seems that- wonder of wonders- the blank cheque demanded for the construction of the ludicrous CDTS busway- to the doubtless fury of Price and his cronies- may now never get signed and we, the families of Cheshire, Chester and North Wales will now hopefully remain free to walk and cycle in peace and safety back and forth across the border along our beloved cycleway on the old Deeside railway for many years to come.
Cllr Price's view? "We are all aware of the vociferous local minority opposed to the Busway. But, if they'd had their way, the railway line would still be a bramble ridden eyesore." (A View from the Town Hall: Evening Leader 19th September 2002)

A recent correspondent in the local press, referring to Cllr Price's "ignorant, class-ridden nastiness" felt that it was "a sure indicator of its writer's own character". Another added, "Voters of all persuasions expect politicians to behave responsibly and leaders to set an example".
Little chance of that here, it seems. Cllr Price's closing words of wisdom? "Newts like to crawl under stones. How about it Klaus?" Good grief.

This attack upon Cllr Braun was the act of a bully and a coward. And the Evening Leader, until now, at least, so well thought of by many for its well-balanced coverage of many local environmental and planning issues, does itself and its readers no favours by continuing to host Cllr Price's clueless column.

Some questions in closing. Could staunch 'Socialists', as exemplified by Cllr Price, be considered strange bedfellows for the developers and bankers that currently have such a stranglehold upon our fair city and who have removed the chance of ever owning their own home from many of her working people?
And what will become of the vast MBNA site should their profits wobble a bit and they, in common with many others, up sticks and sally off to India where graduate call centre staff may be had for a fraction of the salaries demaded here?
Steve Howe

The above letter was not actually printed in the Chester Evening Leader until 28th November- 12 days later- and then only in a deliberately shortened and altered form- complete with faulty typography- and after several protests to the editor.
As, it seems, we are no longer able to trust their editorial policy, this website will no longer be supporting them, sending them news stories- or giving them our nightly 35p.
Around the same time as the letter in question was written, this press release regarding Price's article came from the Handbridge Resident's Council.
The good old Evening Leader, however, failed to print a word of it...

Chester residents are calling on Chester Labour Party to discipline their leader Cllr John Price for what they say was an unwarranted bullying, prejudiced and pig ignorant attack on Chester Green Party’s Cllr Klaus Armstrong-Braun as reported in last weeks Evening Leader. At the same time they want Chester’s Labour group to confirm their respect for the right of all to free speech, to campaign openly, legally and fairly on the issues and to affirm the need to exercise civility in a society striving to practice civilised values.
Handbridge resident Reg Barritt, General Secretary of Handbridge Residents Council, a local community and environmental campaign group, has blasted Cllr Price’s claim that Cllr Armstrong-Braun has no part to play in Chester life as the politics of an old style labour bully. He said ‘It’s just not the truth’. ‘What is true is that Cllr Price’s persistence in seeking to overdevelop the City and overheat the local economy does not represent what many of us in this City actually want. That being a truly sustainable future for our environment and community, and that is what we are not getting’.
Mr Barritt said ‘I am a Chester resident and together with many more people I know we very much welcome Cllr Armstrong-Braun’s involvement in City life’. ‘Cllr Armstrong-Braun was educated in, has lived in, worked in and served this City for most of his life. Indeed Klaus is currently a parochial councillor at St Mary’s Church in Handbridge being a very active member of that congregation. He regularly attends many meetings and other functions concerned with the future of our City. He is the sort of active citizen John Price’s own Labour party has urged us all to become’. ‘It may be unlucky for Mr Price but it is lucky for the rest of us that Klaus refuses to be just another puppet of that man’s political megalomania’.
Mr Barritt states ‘Klaus speaks up on essential matters that Chester City Council’s current political and business rat pack would prefer were kept quiet’. ‘It seems to us Cllr Price’s attack comes at a very interesting moment given Cllr Armstrong-Braun is now reported to be launching a legal challenge to question the legality of Chester City Council’s permission for the over development of the Chester Business Park by the MBNA’. ‘Could it be that Cllr Price has suddenly blown a fuse because he is now running scared of a challenge to a planning permission that every Chester City Councillor and Officer has so far defended as totally legal?’
Mr Barritt is urging Chester’s Labour Party to get Cllr Price back on his lead and under proper control before any more such unreasonable attacks on fellow citizens cause Chester labour Party irreparable damage. Mr Barritt added ‘Power as Cabinet Leader of Chester City Council seems to be going to Cllr Price’s head, and that poses a danger for us all. We can’t allow our politicians the largesse of behaving so badly in representing us. Far more self-discipline and a higher standard of intellectual rigour than Cllr. Price has shown in this scurrilous attack are required irrespective of the political party or point of view one supports’.
Mr Barritt said ‘Cllr Price needs to get it into his skull that many residents of Chester also consider the development of a dominating MBNA monoculture of employment in Chester at a location not intended to be used for the scale of employment now proposed is a very unsound policy indeed for a number of sound reasons that he, his party, and his Council (it does not seem to be ours anymore) fail to publicly acknowledge’. ‘In this respect his attack on Cllr Armstrong-Braun is also a vicious assault on a sizable section of the local community’. ‘By failing to acknowledge that Cllr Price attempts to marginalise many Chester people, in the process showing contempt for us all’. ‘No doubt Cllr Price would love it if not only Cllr Armstrong-Braun but also the many more of us Chester people who simply do not agree with his attitude to our environment and community needs would go away. We are not going to go away and he needs to understand we are the people he serves, and not just the power of the dollar’.
Mr Barritt said that Cllr Price’s call to Cllr Armstrong-Braun to keep out of Chester politics, because Klaus lives outside Chester and serves on a different Council, is utter hypocrisy. He said ‘Cllr Price sits on Chester’s Economic Development Forum where he works with people from America who represent MBNA and with representatives of British Aerospace at Broughton (where Klaus lives), and Cllr Price is in regular liaison with a number of councils from all over the region including Flintshire Council on which Klaus serves!’ ‘Did Cllr Price not express public anger not so long ago when the Welsh Assembly rejected development proposals across the border in Sealand in Flintshire? Mr Barritt adds ‘On a televised history programme recently it was stated that ‘You are in Wales before you leave the suburbs of Chester’. Cllr Price might care to note the fact that the Flintshire Cllr for those suburbs is Cllr Armstrong-Braun’.
Mr Barritt concluded ‘Hitler, Mussolini, Idi Amin, Mr Mugabe and a lot of other despots have one thing very much in common; they have all in their time repressed free speech. Cllr Price should note that his frantic demands for such control freakary can only help lead us down the unsavoury road to the sort of society these dictators established’. ‘Cllr Price should stick to the issues and let time and due process take care of the rest. He brings no credit on himself, to the Labour Party, or to this City behaving in this way’ ‘We disown his comments and we want a new leader of our council’.
Issued by Reg Barritt, General Secretary HaRC

18/11/02 I must say when we first saw Clr. John Price had a (propaganda) column in the Evening Leader we thought it a shame. The Evening Leader has always had a good reputation for being fair.
'Views from the Town Hall' left us thinking- Give him enough rope and he'll hang himself.
Cllr Price has given readers a truer glimpse of his concrete view from the Town Hall than I think he may have wished, in the Evening Leader on Thursday. We still live in a free country but opinions differing from the 'cover it with cement brigade' are rubbished, ignored, 'lost', 'stolen', miscounted, 'interpreted' or derided here in the city.
After the outburst on Klaus Armstrong-Braun and others, it is obvious Cllr Price needs to take a walk on the wild side, it helps humans to unwind in this stressful world. Though of course, being leader of the city council you can't advise/inform Cllr J. Price, he knows best, his feet are stuck in the concrete world of his own making.
With the help of open-minded councillors who have the ability to listen to others and consider public opinion, we will get on with our lives and 'breathe and grow healthily' along with our city, these councillors can see the need for tranquil green space for both humans and wildlife. We can only hope more councillors follow the green path- that way they will not become stuck in the grey stuff.
Klaus Armstong-Braun speaks for wildlife habitat and there are not too many people willing or able to take the time or trouble to protect anything that does not show £ signs these days. We have always found him approachable and affable which is more than can be said for some councillors.
Ralph and Audrey Hodgkinson.

21/11/02 The County Engineer states (Chester Standard last week- 'Residents want action on traffic problems') "Funds have been allocated for pedestrian and speed measures on Hoole Road in 2003-05". Brook Lane and Kingsway pedestrian crossings are also mentioned. Yet a few of weeks ago, Cllr. Molly Hale and Focus proclaimed the safety measures for this area were "thrown away" when most of Chester and district had welcomed the County Council Conservative's logical decision not to spend local tax funds on the risky CDTS busway project.
Some initiatives by councillors and planners are good for Chester, for instance the free bus service from the railway station to the town centre. Most Chester people do not need to use it but many travellers find it very useful and if it encourages people to travel by traln instead of a car we do not begrudge local tax being used on this service. Other useful extra bus services such as the Blacon to the Countess Hospital are a great improvement, but could other areas be considered for this service too? Improvements in services for outlying villages are also excellent news.
It appears that green space is now considered valuable by the city council, their commitment to "enhance and increase green space"- also "protect the Green Belt" according to their planning newsletter. Preserving Green Belt and green space has been top of the Anti-CDTS agenda for a very long time, being one of the main reasons we fought to stop the costly CDTS guided busway project. The Millennium cycle/walkway is a valuable green space that Sustrans (a charity) currently maintains with some local volunteers. It would be nice to think the city council is now really considering people by enhancing this important traffic-free healthy option to car travel. The route benefits everyone and improves the environment too. That the council is protecting our Green Belt too surely means the 1,200 car space park and ride site planned to be gouged out of our Green Belt land to feed the CDTS guided concrete busway will no longer be on the cards either.
Audrey Hodgkinson

28/11/02 So Chester City Council still seems to be bent on pursuing the tattered remains of the Mickle Trafford to Shotton guided busway idea in spite of public opinion, professional, technical, financial and county council advice as to its total lack of viability. This should be a very worrying matter for the residents of Chester as they intend to now 'go it alone' and raise the spiralling cash burden it demands from public funds and assets. As the city always has many worthwhile projects languishing on the pending list for lack of cash such action in handling the city's finanaces must be considered as a gross piece of mismanagement.
A realistic explanation for this curious enthusiasm for a disastrous project- without the political and commercial claptrap that has, to date, attempted to justify it, would be welcome. It is to be hoped that the electorate will remember all this when the next city council elections come up.
M.H.O. Hoddinott 19 Dicksons Drive, Chester

5/12/02 I received a copy this week of the Liberal Democrats Focus newsietter for Hoole Groves and discovered we have a new candidate seeking our votes in next May's city council elections.
The new Liberal candidate, Beverly Eaton, states that she is "fully aware of the issues that concern residents" so I was very keen to read on and see where she stands on the CDTS. To my astonishment there was no mention whatsoever of this issue. Is this because Chester Liberals realise how strongly Chester residents are opposed to the CDTS and so in order to have the greatest chance of gaining our votes it is better not to mention the subject?
It is especially surprising that the issue is not mentioned when on the back of the leaflet you see a picture of Molly Hale who is so strongly in favour of the wasteful and discredited scheme, in spite of the wishes of local people. Can we deduce that the Liberal Democrats now realise that they have been defeated by the strength of local opinion and so must now hide their views until after the election in order to remain electable? I urge everyone to ask their Liberal candidates what services they would propose to cut and what additional increases in council tax they would be willing to sanction to fund the CDTS.
Sue Thompson 29, Shavington Avenue

A couple of remarkably different responses from Lib Dems to the above are here...

5/12/02 National newspapers this week reported a study in Tokyo which found that, if people lived near tranquil, tree-lined, urban green spaces the positive feeling they obtained increased good health and longevity. Walking became a pleasure and it encouraged everyone to take exercise no matter what age. Lower environmental noise also plays a vital part in their good health.
The tranquil nature of the Millennium linear park (Sustrans cycle/walkway) is a good example of this much-needed facility and is why there is such an outcry to keep it a green space. Sadly, some individual councillors ignore this need.
Cllrs Molly Hale and David Robinson are stiil pushing for the CDTS project. They are still desperately dragging this project around in the vain hope someone will fund this risky, unnecessary and very controversial project. That they have been dragging the plans around for years without success, at tremendous cost to Chester and district ratepayers does not seem to trouble them or the city councii leader John Price.
To be fair, I believe many city councillors are worried that the cycleway extension funding is being held up because these individuals are obsessed with a 20 year-old 'has been' idea that guided busway is an innovative and prestigious miracle cure. Never mind that it has proved not to be in other places.
The NWDA has agreed in principle to fund the extension once CDTS is finally dropped by the city council
If you are as concerned as I am about this delay perhaps a letter to your councillor may help- you may be lucky enough to have a councillor who is / could be persuaded to represent constituents on this subject- if they get enough mail? Of course, a letter to the Press (or this website) is another way.
Audrey Hodgkinson (representing tbousands of Anti-CDTS members)

12/12/02 It was of great concern to hear, at the fuil city council meeting last week, the Labour Party trying to revive the CDTS scheme, thrown out by the Cheshire County Council because it was too expensive. No one wants it, there are other arterial roads in and out of the city, so why should Hoole Road be an exception? The money it would cost would be better spent in other and more useful projects.
The underpasses of City Road, Northgate Street and Gorse Stacks all need Toucan crossings. Newtown is an island surrounded by traffic, the only access is by underpass or the crossing by the Arena.
Cheshire County Council is the highways authority and has the money, so let it do what people want, put Toucan crossings in the above three areas. There is no reason why Hoole Road should be made a special case, it only has an increased flow of traffic during the morning and evening rush hour, but so have other roads in and out of the city. This does not justify millions being spent on the CDTS scheme. The only ones to benefit would be the developers.
Dora Taylor 60, St Oswalds Newtown, Chester

27/12/02 It is interesting to learn that the Government autborities have come clean over the worrying levels of potentially dangerous gases from the internal combustion engine and polluting city air.
Some years back the removal of the visible sooty 'smoke' from exhausts- especially the diesel engine- was hailed as the answer to the problem.
Now it has been admitted that this was only a small part of the pollution and the invisible poisonous gases remain as potential lung irritants.
In view of this, is it not time the words 'clean and green' that adorn some of the city buses were removed?
There is no such thing as a clean internal combustion engine- especially the diesel version. There are 'cleaner' types but little more than that.
Incidentally, these facts clearly show that the claims of the supporters of the Shotton to Mickle Trafford busway vehicles as being 'clean' are wholly wrong and misleading both the public and councillors alike.
The vehicles' gases would infiltrate any housing along its route and stagnate in the many cuttings and sheltered parts.
M H O Hoddinott, Dicksons Drive, Chester

26/12/02 Sue Thompson expressed a valid point about tbe Lib Dems Focus newsletter for Hoole Groves.
The absence of any mention of CDTS hopefully indicates that they now consider the scheme as 'dead and buried'. Christian Democrats oppose the CDTS and regard the scheme as inappropriate and expensive. We would like to see the use of cycleways encouraged and developed across Chester.
Steve Allen, Acting Chairman, Christian Peoples Alliance, Chester

We're not sure whether this one should be on the 'pro' or 'anti' busway pages- but a remarkable read nontheless. Compare with this letter from Lib Dem couinty councillor Molly Hale, which was published in the same paper on the same day. Great to know the Hoole Lib Dems are of one mind on this one...

27/12/02 A correspondent complains that in our latest Hoole Groves Focus newsletter, the subject of CDTS was not mentioned.
The reason is simple- as far as I am concerned it is a dead issue.
The county council made a final decision not to fund the scheme, though they have suggested that the city council might take it over. They know that the city council has neither the ability nor the resources to do so. I would certainly not support any suggestion that it did.
Despite the impression your correspondent tries to give, Liberal Democrats have not had a 'party line' on the issue. Iiberal Democrat councillors have been among the objectors to the scheme as well as its supporters.
What happens to the Millennium cycleway now? Does Sustrans have the resources to maintain the existing path properly- and if not, who does? Are the Conservatives at County Hall prepared to extend the cycleway to Mickle Trafford- or are they just going to leave the old railway line as a linear tip running through our area?
How are we going to solve the problem of speeding and rat-running traffic in Hoole? Local Liberal Democrat councillors have been pressing for a comprehensive traffic management scheme for the whole of the Hoole, Newton and Upton area. The Conservatives at County Hall are refusing to fund it.
How do the County Hall Tories plan to deal with congestion in the city centre? How do they intend to cope with the perpetual traffic jam on Hoole Road? Do they want more Park & Rides (and if so where?) or do they want still more cars and car parks in the hidtoric centre of the city, or in Hoole?
Talking to local people, I find that most of them are concerned about much more than CDTS- however much of an issue it is for some.
I intend to talk about and campaign on live issues that matter to the people of Hoole Groves. CDTS is 'off the table' but local traffic and other problems have not gone away.
I shall be working with local people and my fellow Liberal Democrats to ensure these problems are not ignored by County Hall Tories.
Beverly Eaton, Editor, Llberal Democrat Focus, Hoole Groves Ward

And also prospective city councillor for Hoole Groves to boot. A response is below...

30/12/02 In response to a correspondent, Liberal Democrat county councillor Molly Hale
tells us that "to say that CDTS is 'wasteful and discredited' shows a woeful lack of knowledge", and that "the anti-CDTS group know the financial position full well but choose not to accept it and would rather continue to mislead less well informed people".
In the very same edition of the Chronicle, the editor of the Lib Dem's newsletter, Focus, Beverly Eaton, remarkably says of the busway, "as far as I am concerned it is a dead issue. The county council made a final decision not to fund the scheme, though they have suggested that the city council might take it over. They know that the city council has neither the ability nor the resources to do so. I would certainly not support any suggestion that it did."
It must be reassuring to all the 'less well informed people' in the ward of Hoole Groves- for where Ms Eaton is the prospective Liberal Democrat city council candidate- that such clarity of thinking and unity of purpose exists on a matter of such (deny it though both correspondents try) great local importance.
Ms Eaton goes on to inform us that "Liberal Democrats have not had a 'party line' on the issue. Liberal Democrat councillors have been among the objectors to the scheme as well as its supporters".
One wonders where these objectors- of whatever party- have been hiding all these years, if such is the case. Their names certainly have never appeared within the correspondence pages of the local press. Perhaps if a few had dared to put their heads above the parapet and actually supported and fully represented the views of their constituents, the insanity that was CDTS may have been put out of its misery long ago and some of the millions of pounds that have been scandalously squandered upon the project over many years- will we ever know how much?- may have been used for something useful instead.
In her letter, Ms Eaton continues to spread the same nonsense that was put about on the doorstep at the time of the Hoole All Saint's elections last year- and sporadically ever since- regarding the future of the Sustrans cycleway: "What happens to the Millennium cycleway now? Does Sustrans have the resources to maintain the existing path properly- and if not, who does? Are the Conservatives at County Hall prepared to extend the cycleway to Mickle Trafford- or are they just going to leave the old railway line as a linear tip running through our area?"
If the writer had taken even the smallest effort to research her subject before committing her speculations to paper, she would be aware that Sustrans is a well-funded and efficient national organisation that has to date achieved truly great things and that remains committed to, and perfectly capable of, maintaining this, our local section of the National Cycle Network. The "Conservatives at County Hall's" questioned future involvement is therefore utterly irrelevant to the issue.
If the lady had bothered to consult with Sustrans themselves, or the county council's cycling officer- or even with the office of the Anti-CDTS Groups (!)- she would also have been made aware that Sustrans have agreed in principle to extend our cycleway as far as Mickle Trafford- thus greatly increasing its already-considerable value as a leisure and commuter route- but only if Chester City Council formerly declares that it is no longer seeking to continue with the development of the busway.
Ms Eaton may declare that "the city council has neither the ability nor the resources to do so", but, in September 2002 for example, Labour city council leader John Price announced the council's intention to pursue the development and wrote, rather hysterically, in the press of the County's decision not to fund the busway as follows, "It's a slap in the face for our businesses and the local economy. It's a slap in the face for the Government, which has approved the project and will pay half the costs. It's a slap in the face to the local plan inspector, whose recent report into our future development backs the need for the route. And it's slap in the face to thousands of commuters and residents desperate for their elected representatives to show some leadership".
Councillors who dare to think otherwise have indeed been few and far between and it therefore, depressingly seems unlikely that Sustrans will be in a position to continue with their splendid work in our city for the forseeable future. But, should Ms Eaton chance to become an elected member, can she promise us that she would then campaign to ensure that this unfortunate situation is reversed at the soonest possible occasion?
Funding for the cycleway does not come from the city and county councils. Funding the cycleway costs the people of Chester, remarkably, not a penny. Pretty good value for money, what? So much pleasure and convenience for so many for so little.... you'd think everyone, especially our councillors and planners, would be overjoyed, wouldn't you?
And those figures for the running costs of the busway again?
Happy New Year,
Steve Howe

A response to the above from Lib Dem leader Sue Proctor is here...

2/1/03 It was refreshing to read the letter by Beverley Eaton. At last, I thought, the long awaited extension to Sustrans Millennium walk/cycleway (a safe route to school for many children) could begin. The money for this extension has been agreed, in principle, by the NWDA once the city council finally abandons the CDTS busway project. We hoped those who actually live in Chester and district were being considered at last, not just how many extra visitors could be further crammed into the city centre. However, the relief was shortlived as we then read the repetitive claims of C!lr Molly Hale in another local newspaper.
Our county council reached a logical decision not to fund the CDTS busway and, bear in mind, this council has been assessed by the Audit Commission and came out in the top 16, receiving 'excellence'. Value for money decisions and public awareness were two of its strong points.
I can't think of a single claim 'for' the busway that has not been disproved. Far from Anti-CDTS 'misleading' anyone, Cllr Hale, my letters in the ever-popular Chester Standard prove the opposite.
We are at the beginning of 2003 and I urge all city councillors to move on. We desperately need safe routes to school for our precious young people. The Millennium way usage figures have proved people will leave their cars at home given a green, traffic free route to work/school/shops/doctors etc. Everyone needs access to green tranquil areas near their homes, and if councils along with the general public don't show respect for wildlife how on earth do we expect young people to do so?
Incidentally, Beverley, Sustrans area manager did contact Cllr Hale some time ago after I emailed a copy of a previous letter to him. I gather councils nationwide help Sustrans in some smal way by, for instance, occasionally providing a sweeper.
It would be a nice gesture if Chester city council did likewise, after all this route lessens congestion and pollution without burying our precious green areas under more concrete.
Audrey Hodgkinson

On to the next page...

Letters opposed to the Busway 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 18 | 19 Letters in favour of the Busway
Top of Page | Site Front Door | Chester: A Virtual Stroll Around the Walls
| A Virtual Stroll Along the Mickle Trafford Railway | Part II | Site Index