In January 1999, we
received the following letter from one of our readers:
"Are you aware of the current planning application for a new bus
maintenance & storage depot on Liverpool Road at the site of the former Travis Perkins Builders Merchants? The site will replace the existing
facility on City Road and will be for initially for 89 buses. Access is to the
mini-roundabout on Liverpool Road and from Parkgate Road.
The history of the site is as follows: The builders merchants closed down about
5 years ago. Since then several planning applications for housing developments
have been turned down as the council wishes to retain the site for light industrial/commercial
use for employment reasons. The owners have, until recently, been unable to
find such a purchaser so the site has become vandalised and left derelict. In
December an application was made for a gym/clinic on the site and this seems
to have forced the council's hand.
The site provides the only access to and from the Mickle Trafford/Shotton railway
that does not require major engineering works and was one of 3 possible access
points indicated on the original "consultation" leaflet. By securing the site
for a bus depot, future access for the busway is ensured. The fact this access
is to some of the most congested roads in Chester is not likely to deter the
proponents of this scheme, anymore than the locating of a bus depot in a residential
area adjacent to a school does. In a typically underhand way, the original objection
period was over the Christmas holidays and many of the most affected residents
were not informed. However we seem to have gained an extension with new notices
to be sent out. The more objections received by the planning department the
better but probably more useful is objections to councillors on the planning
committee, a number of whom appear undecided. If this application is refused
it could be a major blow to the Busway and possibly fatal".
This ludicrous idea was
finally seen off when a rival plan for the site, that of a health club- despite
being refused planning permission by the same council that wished to build the
bus depot- was allowed upon appeal. On the
right we see the vast and ugly new building under construction in July 2000. Go here to learn more...
7/1/99 How can the council trot out a message "Commute don't pollute"
then in the same breath advocate using park & ride? Park & Ride may save congestion
for roughly the last mile into town but it still causes pollution- getting to
the park & ride in the first place, queuing to turn into the site, exhausts
pouring out more fumes. Do the council really think we read and digest without
using our brains to analyse their propaganda or are they the ones being fooled?
People in Chester are enlightened and wish to really help the environment. Fancy
words do nothing at all to help and we know it. Our council should encourage
walking and cycling by giving the signal- much better facilities- traffic free
routes into town/country. 36% of Chester residents do not have access to a car
(1990 Census) others use their car sparingly, and many more would if given a
delightful route, better for the environment than any park & ride. The Mickle
Trafford disused railway route should be left to nature, with a trail for walkers/cyclists
only. This would prove a good investment for our most precious environment
and wildlife. It is true people are reluctant to leave cars: the disgusting
alternatives- waterlogged, dirty, dangerous subways, little thought given to
cyclists' needs. Who can blame anyone using their car? But some of our most
loved birds and animals are on the verge of extinction, including the thrush
whose song gladdens our hearts. We are not going to let this happen are we?
Write to your councillor. Don't cut down trees etc on the embankment of the
Mickle Trafford old railway line in order to have two lanes of buses every few
minutes, for yet another proposed green field site park & ride car park. Keep
it natural with a walk/cycle route only on the old track. We must cherish what
bit of wildlife habit we have left in built-up areas and fight to keep it by
informing our council of our wishes. After all, they are there to represent
us aren't they?
Councillors, make it your New Year resolution to give us real pollution-free
policies. A happy, less polluted, pleasant, healthier walking, cycling New Year
The Hodgkinson Family, Hoole, Chester
18/1/99 Given that all the local council seats are up for election in May,
now is an appropriate time to be asking candidates for their views on the fate
of the old railway line. I have just re-read the November edition of the Lib-Dem's
"Newton Focus". It is interesting to note that the Private Finance Initiative
method of funding the conversion to a Busway has been ruled out. As many have
said all along, this simply confirms assumptions that the Busway is not economically
viable in 'normal' commercial terms. It is essential that the case should be
examined with proper economic rigour if the Council Tax payers of Chester are
not to be saddled with the liability in the future of subsidising a service
that few want. Capital may be accessible from grants, lottery funding etc.,
but please ask the potential councillors seeking election in May to say who
is going to be left with the obligation to make good any shortfall in ongoing
operating costs. For sure, it will not be the visitors coming to the City and
using the Park & Ride facility.
Nic Siddle, 7 Sandileigh Hoole
22/1/99 Having moved to Saughall in May of 1998 my family have taken great
interest in learning about the current and historical Chester-your site has
been a catalyst for this enjoyment. Quite simply it is the best of it's type
I have seen-well done!!
In respect of the proposed busway, which would obviously have an effect on ourselves
in Saughall, is there anyway of obtaining a general overview of the scheme,
its history and pros/cons etc? I welcome any reply.
David Slater (email@example.com)
22/1/99 Your report headed 'Objectors speak out over transport schemes' failed
to mention the letters and objection forms from more than 500 individuals and
organisations that have been received by Cheshire County Council objecting to
the Chester-Deeside Transport System and the Chester Western Relief Road.
These objections, including those of the Council for the Protection of Rural
England (CPRE), were submitted during the recent public consultation period
but have not been recorded by the council as valid objections.
In the light of the recent White Paper on the Future of Transport, CPRE questions
whether the two major transport schemes for Chester are acceptable in terms
of their environmental impact, value for money, integration with other local
transport, whether they improve public transport for those without a car, and
whether they have the backing of the local community.
Government policy requires Chester to produce a Local Transport Plan at an early
It appears that once again the views of local people are being dismissed while
the Chester- Deeside Transport System and the Chester Western Relief Road are
being given their final blessing by officers and councillors behind closed doors.
ANN JONES, Chester District CPRE, Daleside, Upton Heath, Chester
22/1/99 Given that all the local council seats are up for election in May,
now is an appropriate time to be asking candidates for their views on the fate
of the old railway line.
I have just re-read the November edition of the Lib Dem's Newton Focus. It is
interesting to note that the Private Finance Initiative method of funding the
conversion to a busway has been ruled out.
As many have said all along, this simply confirms assumptions that the busway
is not economically viable.
It is essential that the case should be examined with proper economic rigour
if the council taxpayers of Chester are not to be saddled with subsidising a
service that few want.
Capital may be accessible from grants, lottery funding, and so on, but please
ask the potential councillors seeking election in May to say who is going to
be left with the obligation to make good any shortfall in ongoing operating
For sure, it will not be the visitors coming to the city and using the Park
& Ride facility.
NIC SIDDLE Sandileigh, Chester
Another interesting letter here from Nic Siddle:
24/1/99 The Fate of Objections to the Busway.
Like Ann Jones, I was one of the objectors to the Cheshire 2011 Structure Plan
Draft Modifications. Readers will remember that considerable publicity was given
to the Council's stated intention to take Public Opinion into account with regard
to this Plan.
Having detailed objections to both the CDTS busway and the Western Bypass schemes,
I received a letter from the Council saying:-
"I am not able to record your comments as a valid objection/ representation",
and gave as justification the grounds that "the County Council intends to pursue
a policy endorsed by the EIP panel". Read the report and you will discover that
it was "endorsed" only with major reservations. Why ask for views if the intention
is to discount them because they do not support a pre-determined plan?
The writer of the letter also apologised for not sending an individual reply
because of the number of completed objection forms received. The letter said
(and I quote), that mine was "one of over a hundred similar objections". Expressed
in that way, one was clearly meant to conclude that there was a limited number
of like minded objectors.
I telephoned Commerce House to try and establish the actual number of objections
received. There was a marked reluctance to reveal the number and I was advised
that there was no plan to count them, although I was told that "all the objections
will be recorded and anyone can come in and count them". I was eventually led
to believe that there might be 300-400 objections. It has now been established
that there were in fact more than 500. As any politician will agree, an issue
that motivates one person to write a letter or objection in reality usually
represents ten times that number of people who agree with the complaint. I am
sure that there are many more than 5000 people in the City who object to the
CDTS busway. It is crucial that if you too object to the Busway, then you let
your City and County Councillors know.
As well as writing to the papers, contact your Councillors (the City councillors
will be looking for your votes soon). Most Councillors can be reached by e-mail
(addresses are in the format firstname.lastname@example.org for City Councillors and
email@example.com for County Councillors). Please copy me ( NicSiddle@nsiddle.freeserve.co.uk
) with any mail sent on the subject."
In early February, SUSTRANS got cracking on their cycletrack / footpath.
6/2/99 "Dear City Councillors,
I ask that you all find the time to go down to the old Blacon station / "The
Glen" site and see for yourself the wholesale destruction that has been taking
place in the past week in the name of installing a two metre wide footpath /
It is utter madness that such a "scorched earth" policy has been allowed just
in case the Busway gets through the public enquiry and then meets the even bigger
hurdle of securing the funding necessary to proceed. Those of you able enough
should also walk as far as the track adjoining the cemetery to see the size
of the log pile and the girth of the trees they have cut down. Now imagine this
along the whole length of the track and the effect it will have on the skyline.
The track that backs onto to Thirlemere Rd and Chatsworth Drive will be witness
to some of the worst destruction in my opinion! I especially urge those of you
who are on the planning sub committee to go and witness what you have allowed
to happen. Next week will be too late. I would be grateful to hear your responses
Graeme Lyall, 47 Oaklea Avenue Hoole Chester CH2 3RG 01244 324233 firstname.lastname@example.org
4/2/99 The only way any of us will have any hope of keeping our green spaces
is to get rid of planners who do not keep their word. Also councillors who infiltrate
other organisations. For example SUSTRANS and the Cheshire Wildlife Trust. (Tell
us more, do) To the public it looks iffy and does nothing for the reputation
of these organisations. To me they dilute what these organisations stand for.
They should stand up to the council and make the public aware they have. I wonder
who will be doing the environment assessment? Someone connected to the council,
who will say whatever the council wants it to?
Residents must be fed up with giving their views against the busway, which because
they do not agree with the council are disregarded. Residents have been writing
to newspapers and the council for years now, against the busway. The council
know it is not wanted, but on the first page of the Standard of 7th January
it says "Busway green light" and "people will be asked for their views". It
seems to me the council are representing themselves, not residents and ordinary
people who can do nothing about it, as was apparent at the Sustrans planning
meeting. People were not against what Sustrans really stands for, making cycle
walkways on disused railway lines, but they were against the planning application
which was put through because as they knew, it now gives the green light for
Those councillors involved really take the biscuit for their manipulation of
the situation. I assume only the small amount of land given planning permission
for the cycle/walkway was bought with lottery money, not the whole line, if
most of it is to be used for a busway.
The people who are pushing this busway should sign an undertaking that if this
busway is a flop, they will be responsible for the expenses incurred and not
the Council Tax payers, as my guess is once the busway is approved these people
will be conspicuous by their absence. As it stands these people lose nothing,
but residents lose their green breathing space and could also pay dearly for
At the next local elections let the residents vote on whether they want or don't
want this busway. That's the fairest way,
4/2/99 During the last week there has been growing concern voiced regarding
the Sustrans project. False statements made by the council when questioned about
the felling of trees has led to demands for resignations from many sources.
During the environmental forum meeting on Wednesday 10th February, Carlton Roberts-James
(CDTS Project manager) and Neil Gibson (city council) stated that Sustrans had
been told to stop tree felling the previous day, until a meeting with Sustrans
the following week. However, the Sustrans contractors have been cutting down
trees on the Tuesday and indeed on Thursday 11th. Sustrans denied that they
had been told to cease this activity. It is now the bird nesting season and
many people are concerned about the destruction of the nesting habitat.
All during the environmental forum meeting Mr Roberts-James admitted that the
CDTS project was not for the benefit of local residents- its main function
is to ferry car users from the proposed Park and Ride site at Mannings Lane
into the city. Mr Roberts-James also stated the local residents will be expected
to pay for a large part of the cost of the project- a minimum of 20 per cent.
It was also disclosed that the city council policy is to accommodate increased
car use- which goes against the government's Transport White Paper.
During investigations carried out by Chester Preservation Group, a member of
the City council admitted that the Sustrans and CDTS projects are linked, which
the council had previously denied. These events have confirmed many people's
view that the Sustrans project was to aid the CDTS scheme. There are now calls
for a full public enquiry into the CDTS, and that the local residents' views
should be one of the prime aspects of the consultation process- not as
stated by the council, that public opinion is only a secondary matter- confirmed
by Mr Roberts-James. The council have also disclosed that they are looking
at raising funds from taxation of local residents' parking.
There is increasing pressure on local councillors and council to take responsibility
for the current unhappy situation regarding matters related to the Sustrans/CDTS
project, as they have been viewed as off-loading responsibility onto other parties.
Chester Preservation Group, 66 Linden Grove Hoole Chester
7/2/99 Wanton Destruction. I have today been along the old Railway
track near Blacon and was appalled to see the extent of the clearance being
made in order to install the "Cycleway".
Let me remind readers that this part of the old trackbed is not even included
in the first phase of the Busway proposal (and even that still hasn't got planning
permission). There was therefore absolutely no need to devastate the vegetation
in this way. We were advised that this was to be "undergrowth & shrub clearance"
and yet trees with a trunk diameter of over one foot have been felled, which
is certainly not necessary in order to install a footpath/ cycleway.
It appears that Sustrans have been "conned" into doing the Council's dirty work
for them. Given the extent of the removal of the hedgerows and vegetation, there
is going to be massive disruption to the wildife in the area. To all readers
with properties adjacent to the line in the Hoole area, I strongly urge you
to have a look at what is being done in Blacon.
IT'S YOUR TURN NEXT.
Make your local councillors aware of how you feel. Most Councillors can be reached
by e-mail (addresses are in the format email@example.com for City Councillors
and firstname.lastname@example.org for County Councillors). Please copy me ( NicSiddle@nsiddle.freeserve.co.uk
) with any mail sent on the subject.
To all our Local and County Councillors and prospective candidates: I would
urge you to have a look at the line too- see what you are being asked to approve
in order to allow for future busway development. Then be very clear in your
manifestos as to what you believe is the correct future for the line. The electorate
has a right to know.
Nic Siddle, 7 Sandileigh Hoole Chester CH2 3QN
19/2/99 So the Mickle Trafford cycleway is slashing through the Blacon tree
line so cyclists can get more sunlight is it?
Well, you have to hand it to Sustrans. They are certainly putting some creative
effort into these excuses.
In the past, they've said that in order to make the cycleway interesting it
will have chicanes (why cyclists are expected to enjoy being subjected to traffic
calming when everyone else hates it is a mystery), and changes in level (rarely
used elsewhere and particularly redundant on the Mickle Trafford line since
the undulating outlying land gives the same effect for no effort).
I think we are all familiar with the real reason behind this destructive (and
expensive) bulldozing. It is becoming apparent that as well as becoming the
council's catspaw for building the cycleway like this, Sustrans also have the
job of promoting it- an unenviable task.
What can they come out with next, though? How about: "the cyclepath really is
a mess! The workmen left the plans out and a sttray dog must have chewed them.
No-one realised until it was too late!"
Well, they've done worse.
ALLAN JONES Brook Lane Newton Chester
25/2/99 As a biologist/ environmentatist for more than 40 years, I was distressed
to see further devastation of the trees along the old railway he last week.
Between Newton Field bridge and Mannings Lane bridge about 80 Young trees- mainly
English elm,15-20 years Old (according to tree rings on their stumps)- were
cut down together with the udergrowth of briar rose and bramble. This has left
the lower half of the bank (N-side) denuded of vegetation and vulnerable to
erosion, All this so that Sustrans can run a 3m wide foot/cycleway in what was
already a 6-7m track.
In a heated discussion at Kingsway on Saturday with two local councillors these
were some of the points made by them to my objections. I include my unanswered
queries and some observations in parentheses.
The trees needed thinning as one grows better than a clump of four (why were
all the trees removed from the lower half of the bank and all the trees at the
The undergrowth had to be removed as unwanted on a footpath (In fact these were
on the bank, not on the flat track).
Advice had been given by experts that the elm tree is liable to new infestation
of the disease carrying beetle at about 12 years old, so it was a forward-looking
action removing them now rather than causing disruption in say five years time
when the track is completed. Trees of younger age could have been left for their
10-12 year period. Strange that the highly acclaimed Flora Britannica1998
suggests that 20 years is about the time that re-infestation may occur. And
the elms we lost in the early 70s became susceptible at 100 years old or more!
By simple arithmetic this latest toll has taken say 70 trees (I may have miscounted)
averaging 15 years old (better to underestimate tree rings) and we have lost
something over 1,000 years of tree canopy growth ie. efficient carbon dioxide
absorbers, and oxygen producers as well as sound mufflers. this leads me to
suspect that the city wants to do its bit towards global warming etc., while
our local garden centres advocate: Breathe with Ease, Plant some Trees.
It's warming to realise that, on the very day this
and the following letter appeared, it was announced that the National lottery
had awarded £19,900 to help fund the Chester and District Festival of Trees as glowingly described in the following letter...
25/2/99 Chester and District Festival of Trees is one of the few successful
organisations around the country to secure a Millennium Festivals Grant from
the Arts Council. This is a real vote of confidence in the quality and value
of the festival's work and a boost for the Chester and District community.
Millennium funding means that Chester and District Festival of Trees is set
to break all records in the year 2000. Already the biggest festival of its kind
in the country, programming over 50 events annually, Festival 2000 will see
the completion of 2,000 planted trees. In addition there will be community workshops
that everyone can get involved with including arts, countryside skills, environment
awareness and tree planting. There will be competitions and prizes, exhibitions,
public sculpture and performances. Chester & District Festival of Trees will
continue to make a real impact on the local natural environment.
If you want to be involved in the 1999 festival or Festival 2000 please write.
Russell Kirk, Chester & District Festival of Trees, 23 Shavington Avenue,
Hoole, Chester CH2 3RD
25/2/99 There are no suitable words to describe the decimation on the Mickle
Trafford line at Blacon. The relevant council department who can allow this
to happen must he sick and Sustrans must have lost its marbles to do it for
them. It goes to show what lengths these council departments will go to get
their way. Residents of other areas who could be involved with Sustrans in the
future should come and see this destruction. What is needed is a sustainable
environment for trees and wildlife and special planners and councillors for
a special city.
The council now pretend to go through the motions of giving residents their
say, when of course the busway his already been decided by the bullymen behind
closed doors and you could see who some of these builymen were at the Sustrans
25/2/99 We are members of Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, RSPB, etc, by
which you can gather we care very much about the earth and inhabitants. However,
when approached by Sustrans to support them we declined the invitation. Now
at first glance this may seem odd that as cyclists and walkers we should ask
for further information from them and were not satisfied with the reply.
Those who have seen the devastation on the embankment of the old Mickle Trafford
line in Blacon and further up the line will understand why we are very relieved
not to have donated. Our council is also to blame for allowing this plan to
go ahead anyway knowing full well the path would he denuded of all vegetation.
Birds are nesting, hedgehogs, frogs and other small animals have all had their
environment ruined and some have no doubt died.
The councils' pushy pet- the two line busway- will add yet more devastation
for wildlife and people living near the line. It never ceases to amaze us that
any council can be so short-sighted in this day and age to even think of adding
yet more motorised routes when they should be out to promote healthy walking
and cycling as world authorities and our government now advise we must, to stop
How can they do this in the face of public opinion? We all know that we shall
have to cut down the use of our car whether we like it or not, so at least give
us a pleasanter alternative- motorised vehicle-free routes where possible. This
would not need any more tree cutting, etc on the Mickle Trafford route and we
should have much needed recreational area as well as a truly green route to
town and country. Which is sadly lacking in the Hoole area these days.
We realise there are some moves in Chester to help cyclists, as the number of
people willing to use their own steam grows, but much more is needed to give
a real boost and encourage those who are frightened or reluctant to leave their
car at home at least some of the time and walk or cycle. Those who prefer to
use bases would find the roads were less congested too. Come on councillors,
we can't all keep our blinkers on- they have to come off sooner or later.time
and walk Two OAPs
25/2/99 Shock and dismay have been expressed by local people at the destruction
of wildlife habitat including the felling of well-established trees along the
old Mickle Trafford-Shotton railway track.
The question must be asked whether what is being done is in accord with the
permission granted by the city planning committee on the advice of the counciI
officers? If this is so then the responsibility for what is happening rests
with our councillors.
If Sustrans are not keeping to the conditions of their planning permission then
it must be asked why the council's planning enforcement and control are so ineffective?
WV Jones, 101 Daleside Upton Heath Chester
4/3/99 Am I alone in noticing the irony in the reports in the Standard dated
25th February? One report covered the award of £19,900 from the Lottery to the
Chester & District Tree Festival for the planting of 2000 trees over a period
of some years. Your letters page had a photograph and letters recording the
destruction in a couple of days of an unspecified number of trees by Sustrans
along the old Mickle Trafford railway line.
If a local school wants a worthwhile project they could do worse than count
the number of sawn trunks of greater than one foot diameter that Sustrans has
vandalised- certainly hundreds, if not thousands. Can we assume that the planned
Environmental Impact Study will include the loss of the benefits from these
destroyed plants- or will it compare the busway with the desolation that has
recently been created instead?
Nic Siddle 7 Sandileigh, Hoole, Chester
4/3/99 I was pleased to read in last week's Standard that the Chester and
District Festival of Trees 2000 has been awarded a Lottery grant to enable the
planting of 2000 trees. This is surely good news for the city as this will probably
just about replace the number of trees felled by Sustrans in the course of building
its cycle track along the disused Mickle Trafford railiway.
Craig Steeland, Chester
9/3/99 Dear Councillor Price,
I read with interest your comment in a recent Evening Leader: If I may quote
from it, '"We are well aware of the problems of traffic congestion and it is
top of the list of the things we need to improve over the next five years as
part of our Going Forward strategy." The in-depth report also highlighted a
congested city centre, too many tourists.... and air pollution as problems which
need to be addressed, according to residents.
Cllr Price added: "Overall the report shows that we are doing things right and
is extremely positive. The city's park and ride schemes are proving extremely
successful in the fight against congestion."
Given that you accept the complaints of the respondees that there is currently
too much congestion and are too many tourists, how can you say that the Park
& Ride schemes are successful? All that Park & Ride schemes do is allow more
people to come into the City from outside- ie they exacerbate congestion rather
than relieve it. If the objective is to get more tourists and shoppers into
the City, then Park and Ride can be justified. But this is not, as far as I
am aware, the official policy of the Council. Without measures that positively
discourage motorists from the City, there will be no improvement in congestion
as the road space "released" by the bus schemes will immediately be filled by
Recent decisions of the Planning committee such as that to allow the space allocated
for employment related activities to be used instead for residential flats at
the old Haywood Williams site show how flawed much of the thinking is. With
one fell swoop, the traffic situation will have worsened (all going in the same
direction at any one time rather than both in and out of the estate) and the
need to travel has been increased (no on site employment opportunities). I sincerely
hope that the Council will not allow the City Road Bus depot to relocate to
the Travis Perkins Builder's yard as I believe that that would be against the
Council's own policy of employment creation (it will simply re-locate jobs-
not create new opportunities), or allow B&Q to re-locate to Sealand. B&Q currently
serves a different population from that served by the other DIY stores at Sealand.
If the move is allowed, there will be increased traffic movement and congestion
as all budding DIY'ers will have to go to Sealand. Again, there would be little
in the way of net job creation and possibly net losses as there would probably
be a "shake-out" with the eventual closure of Do-It-All. Park & Rides are not
the answer that will make Chester a sustainable city. More has to be done to
avoid the need for car travel in the first place, for example (but not limited
a) Encourage shops & supermarkets to deliver
b) Locate employment opportunities near residential areas
c) Make cycling/ walking more attractive by improving facilities.
As a regular cyclist, and one who regularly cycles along the inner ring road,
I thought you would be interested to learn that the County Council, according
to its Chief Executive in a letter of 1 March 1999, "...does not wish to encourage
cycling on the [inner] ring road". Combine this with the fact that it is well
nigh impossible to legally cross through the city centre, both ways on a bike,
then it appears to me that the County Council still does not take commuter cycling
I hope that you will help to ensure that the proposed Park & Ride at Mannings
Lane will be obliged to undergo a full and proper planning enquiry and will
not be "rolled up" and "nodded through" in a Transport & Works Act application
which will not consider the impact of Green Belt destruction.
Nic Siddle, 7 Sandileigh, Hoole Chester
10/3/99 I was interested to read in the Chronicle a couple of weeks ago that
the Council had rejected the Wrexham Road bus lane scheme (even if that decision
was later reversed) because of the sharp escalation in costs (from £440,000
to £1.12 million in 7 months.) When the original CDTS scheme was proposed
about three or four years ago, the costs were said to be about £15 million.
Now, in as much as one can get a figure, it appears to be about £50 million.
But this figure is from over twelve months ago, and as far as I am aware, it
has not been updated.
Your other report advised that funding for Phase one of the scheme is to be
met out of the Public purse as it clearly has not been possible to attract Private
Finance. 75% is to come from Central Government (ie the tax payer) and the other
£1.75 million will have to be found from the local Council Tax payers. I don't
know the number of Council Tax Payers in the area, but assuming a number of
about 80,000, this equates to £200 per tax payer. Even if only the interest
is charged, it represents perhaps £20/yr/tax payer. Perhaps the local councillors
would care to explain the an electorate that has clearly shown that it doesn't
want this scheme why our money should be spent on this white elephant rather
than on, say, books for the classrooms of the County.
Nic Siddle, 7 Sandileigh Hoole
14/3/99 I quote from your report about the CDTS last week: "A draft environmental
statement has been prepared, covering the effects on ecology, archeology, air
quality, water and the community. It also puts the scheme in the context of
planning policy and considers whether it is needed and what impact construction,
noise and vibration will have".
Ê I presume that this refers in fact to the environmental "Scoping study" report.
As usual, the planning "spin doctors" are trying to imply that more has already
been done than has actually been done. As far as I am aware, the environmenmtal
impact study has NOT been done. Why then, are we being asked to pass judgement
on a scheme when all the information is not yet available? All that the Scoping
study does is set out the terms of reference for the Environmental Impact Study.
Given that one might expect the terms of reference to be heavily weighted in
favour of delivering the Planners' preferred verdict, (ie that there will be
"minimal impact"), it is not surprising that it seems to be extraordinarily
difficult to get hold of a copy. I suggest that you phone the Town Hall Planning
Dept (tel 234234) to ask for a copy. If that fails, complain to your local councillor.
Nic Siddle, 7 Sandileigh Hoole
15/3/99 In with my Council Tax Bill today I received a copy of the Cheshire
County Council's Budget Report. So soon after the Chancellor's budget
one might have expected it to be the low down on how we as council tax payers
were going to be affected by the decisions made at No 11, but not so, it was
headlined "Guided Busway: Decisions Ahead". It then went on to reveal
that "Supporters and opponents of an innovative project to transform a disused
rail line in Chester into a guided busway are being encouraged to make their
views known." Now regular readers of these columns will have thought this might
strange given that hardly a week has gone by without letters regailing the folly
of the scheme (You're reading them!).
It was also interesting to note in the accompanying photograph that the model
being shown to the Deputy Prime Minister had lots of trees in evidence.
Well, I'm afraid John, many of these have now gone! No doubt the soon to be
distributed glossy consultation document will extol the virtues of this "innovative"
scheme, but a white elephant is a white elephant no matter how innovative!
The real worry is that behind all this hype of the consultation process that
the joint councils won't take any notice of your views anyway? How many people
need to object before the plans scrapped? We need to know this! On a final note
I would ask that all the Chester residents who get a consultation form, fill
it in one way or the other, as I would hate to get this scheme hoisted upon
us due to apathy!
The decision is yours- or is it?
Graeme Lyall, 47 Oaklea Avenue Hoole Chester CH2 3RG