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

What the People Really Think part 6: 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

"In my professional opinion, and given the experience of the council's external advisors on these matters elsewhere, the most remarkable feature of the results was that so many people were sufficiently interested and motivated to demonstrate their support (of CDTS)"
CDTS project manager Carlton Roberts-James reporting to Cheshire County Council's Environment Committee upon the results of the council's public consultation: May 1999

"The scheme's opponents are living in 'cloud cuckoo land' when they claim that the majority of people were against it. We have to listen to concerns but I am quite convinced that we will be more than able to meet those concerns"
CDTS Steering Group Chairman Cllr Peter Byrne at the same meeting

"All I am saying is now, and I trust my colleagues agree, there is a groundswell of public opinion which is saying 'No, think again'. We have to listen"

Tory Environment Spokesman David Palmer ditto

"I know bugger all about these things. I sometimes consult the relevant officers, but always vote according to the party line..."
Unnamed (for the moment) Lib Dem County Councillor overheard in the hospitality tent after the Lord Mayor's Parade, 15th May 1999

28/4/99 Is the CDTS busway really good for Chester? or is it designed to subsidise car-bound visitors instead? Is it a green gloss way for saying goodbye to the green belt and to the trees, foxes and birds which live on the old railway line? Is it "accidental" good news for all those well connected property speculators who have just recently bought up parcels of land alongside the line?
Or is it a thuggish way of turning hundreds of peaceful back gardens into a rumbling roadside? And is phase two (westbound- surprisingly not yet under consultation) going to be a 24 hour bypass for emergency vehicles- as the plans suggest? (Look at the location of the hospital and fire service right next to it. Even the police are thinking of relocating to near to its feeder route for Gorse Stacks.)
Is CDTS a megadose of money money money and jobs jobs jobs for the boys of the County Council engineering depanment at Backward Hall? (Yes- the same boys who have proudly designed Cheshire, in the past 20 years, to be one of the most car dependent counties in the UK).
Is the nature of CDTS, as a car subsidy, a recognition of the fact that every day Cestrians breathe air pollution fmm one of UK's biggest petrochemical and vehicle building belts? Do these big players feel threatened by the idea of 25 per cent of car commuters giving up and cycling across its own backyard to work, as happens in York. The cycle to work figure for Chester is around 4% despite us being a flatter and more compact city. (if only Chester's ring road were to be traffic calmed instead of being deliberately designed to be cycle hostile!)
Does the unwavering strength of support by local councillors coincide comfortably with the fact that Chester city council owns a (potentially privatisable) bus company which seeks to run its own buses down the CDTS busway?
If the local politicians in the forthcoming local elections won't listen, maybe writing to the man who holds the keys to the cash pot for CDTS will help. Big business and the road building lobbyists have already bent his ear at the Government Office North West. Now it's your turn. Have you written to this key man?
Richard Perry (Transport Strategy), Government Office North West, Cunard Building, Water Street Liverpool L3 1QB

Mr Perry's job is to examine council claims that they are bidding for and spending transport money wisely and in a way that local people want. If local politicians are ignoring us on CDTS, perhaps it is time to go over their heads to appeal to reason.
B Johnson, Chester

29/4/99 In answer to Councillor Byrne (15th April, Points of View). The busway will cost millions to build and will not be a success. Then it will cost millions more to turn it into another road. I cannot see the sense in building bus lanes on the roads and also taking this green corridor for buses, unless there is an ulterior motive.
In the meantime Newton, Hoole and Blacon will have lost its green spaces, so it will be by this time irrelevant to them. But watch out Mickle Trafford and Saughall onwards, your green fields are what they are aiming for. Read carefully the public notice the council put in the paper on the 15th April, about the Chester Deeside Transport System.
Chester Resident

29/4/99 GC Steeland wrote an excellent letter last week on CDTS. The opening sentence I fear is correct: "The consultation with Chester residents" is a sham exercise. Not only have enormous sums of our money been spent on public relations and drawing up plans but the bus route has already been put in hand. Sustrans have already been employed cutting down trees and clearing away all the undergrowth for its high level cycle-walking track to run alongside the new bus route, left wide enough for two buses to pass each other.
Similarly an enormous area has been cleared to make room for the entry to the bus route at Blacon. Crosville has been approached as a firm likely to buy and run the buses, the bridges have been assessed to determine if they need strengthening. So much money and effort has already gone into the bus scheme that Backford Hall would have egg all over their faces if it were turned down, so the bus scheme will go through whatever the people say.
CG Steeland was wrong in only one particular. The new little buses are to be gas fuelled and silent mercifully. (Oh yes?) The noise and fumes are all to be located at the far end of Manning's Lane, Hoole where four hectares have been filched from the green belt to hold 1200 cars. This monstrous car park joins the motorway from which it is hoped the cars can be enticed instead of entering Chester. I think the scheme is a fantasy because most people are too lazy to exchange vehicles. I doubt if it will make enough money to pay the bus drivers' wages.
As a resident of Hoole, however, I object to the green belt being attacked in this way. We have already lost the green spaces which previous councils left us, to innumerable housing estates. Soon the air we breathe will be as foul as that of Chester, without any benefit to Chester.
Time was when Chester was a beautiful and dignified cathedral city and county capital, not the greedy, grasping metropolis it is fast becoming and Hoole was the prettiest in Cheshire. Lewis Carroll invented a very good verb: "to uglify". The city and county councils exemplify what it means.
Meg Pendlebury, 292 Hoole Lane Chester

29/4/99 Correspondence in your paper over recent weeks has shown the strength of opposition to the CDTS/park and ride proposals, for a wide range of valid reasons. Yet with a week to go to local elections, the candidates and political parties have nothing to say on the issue and actively avoid discussing it, preferring trivia and mud-slinging.
Where are the local politicians with the courage (or common sense) to listen to their electorate rather than council officers and demand at the very least a thorough reappraisal of the objectives of the CDTS/Park and Ride and the consequences of its implementation in its current form? They don't appear to be standing in the Hoole and Newton areas of the city.
Are the silent majority, people like my wife and myself who are now at a loss to find any individual or party to uphold our views and beliefs, to be compelled to stay at home on 6th May? That would be a tragedy for local democracy at a time whn it needs to be strong, when the powers that-be are lurching inexorably towards the implementation of a half baked set of proposals which will destroy green belt land, damage the local environment, promote car use at the expense of local public transport needs and saddle Chester with a white elephant and wasted opportunity.
In Hoole and Newton, little else matters in local opinion at the moment. We will support the politicians who support us.
Disenfranchised of Hoole

29/4/99 We apologise for the unfortunate cancellation of the resident's meeting against the proposed CDTS that was to be held at Newton County Primary School on Wednesday, 28th April. It is understood that the school was contacted by the CDTS project manager on Monday, 26th April. He advised the school that it was possible that more than 200 people may turn up to the meeting. Additionally, it was suggested that pro-CDTS supporters may also turn up and cause a "volatile" situation.
We thank the CDTS project manager for his concerns, particularly as his expected turnout for the meeting was much greater than we originally anticipated. Apparently, the supposed minority of objectors against the scheme is not such a small number.
It has always been our intention to object in a proper and lawful manner, we aim to co-ordinate residents' opposition to the scheme so that voices and concerns of the residents are noted. Therefore, observing the recent resurgence in opposition to the scheme (a whole page in last week's Standard), it seems appropriate and fair that opposition to the scheme is united to determine the extent of the "minority" of people against the scheme.
Finally, we wish to thank Newton County Primary School who were prepared to give permission to residents to express concern at a non-political meeting.
Residents Against CDTS

29/4/99 I've been moved to join the debate about the proposed busway by the letter from Cllr Peter Byrne calling it a scheme to "entice people from their cars", and by yet another article pushing it as one to "tackle pollution"
Could you please explain to me how building a huge car park on green land and encouraging people to drive to it does anything to combat pollution or entice people from their cars? Does Peter Byrne think that cars only give out "fumes that clog up our airways" while they are in the city centre? This letters page has thrown up so many examples of how ill-thought out this pmject is that I am surprised he can blithely call this scheme the "perfect solution" or dare say that public comments will be given "careful consideration".
Then to top it all the article managed to suggest that our ecologically minded council planners were gracious putting a cycleway/walkway alongside the busway. Let's get this straight. The cycleway came first. It will be built a part of SUSTRANS' network of cyclepaths and footpaths throughout Britain. The council has hijacked the cycleway as a busway. it has shown no green initiative on this matter.
J. Stringer, 47 Canadian Avenue, Hoole Chester

29/4/99 To the Editor: Daily Post
Your report by Alex Williams last week was clearly inspired by an official Council Press release and said nothing that has not been covered by such releases in the past. In the interests of fairness and balance, perhaps some mention should have been made of the very strong opposition that has been displayed to this scheme by the residents of Chester over the past four years or so? Despite all the persuasion and "consultation" exercises, the Councils have failed to provide any evidence that the traffic congestion in Chester will be relieved by the scheme. In fact, the scheme (with its one single stop for local residents) will do nothing for locals- what it will do is to bring more people in cars from out of town to the Park & Ride, thus increasing pollution and congestion on the peripheral roads. In addition, because of the increase in the number of people being deposited from the buses, the pedestrian congestion in the town (which a recent survey showed to be the main cause of complaint by visitors to Chester) will be exacerbated. It is clear that the main objective of the plan is to open up what little remaining Green Space the city has to the developers- the fields in Mannings Lane to become a car park, the adjacent fields for commercial development, the Kingsway playing fields for building and the AHC builders yard for a bus depot. Not to mention Phase 2 which will open up the Sealand Basin for development and the fields of Flintshire. There appear to be very powerful interests at work as is evidenced by the commercially driven submissions to the planning authorities. Protesters are told by local Councillors either that they are a "vocal minority" - in which case why was so much pressure exerted to ensure the cancellation of the recent meeting scheduled at Newton School (and to which over 70 people turned up anyway)? Or, even more astonishingly, we find that numerous candidates in the forthcoming election have a tendency to say "well of course I agree that it is a dreadful scheme, but it is inevitable, and anyway we can't go against the party whip". At the end of the day, councillors are elected to represent the views of their constituents- not to be cannon fodder for a dictatorial party machine. Those that show some courage and declare against the busway between now and next Thursday will pick up a significant number of extra votes from across party divides. When canvassed, please ask your candidates exactly where they stand with regard to the CDTS, ask if they have any declarable interest in bus, supermarket or construction companies. Don't vote for them unless you are satisfied with their answers.
Nic Siddle 7 Sandileigh Hoole

30/4/99 I have studied the Chester Transport Study and the local plan.
As a Labour Party member and supporter of the Government's transport policy, I am totally against Cheshire County and Chester City councils' Transport System proposals for the Mickle Trafford-Deeside rail link.
I am totally against the Park & Ride facility for 1,200 vehicles in Chester's precious Green BeIt at Mannings Lane. Their proposals will not reduce the volume of traffic and pollution, merely move the problem from the city Centre to the suburbs.
The disused rail line should be used as a green lung for the benefit of residents as a cycle/ walk route. The present proposals are for the benefit of tourists, hotels and shops, which provide low paid work for local people. Should the proposals be given permission from the Secretary of State, we will look back and see what a mistake has been made, traffic will not have been reduced, and an area of natural beauty will have been ruined.
Chester's transport problems can be solved by providing an efficient, cheap, reliable, eco, bus service which residents do not now have, also underground parking in the city centre for tourists. Visitors do not want to park three miles from the city Centre. Chester's historic city centre should retain its size and Green Belt, and not be surrounded with massive Park & Ride facilities.
I am aware of the need for development, but the Chester Deeside Transport System proposal should not he allowed to continue.
Terry Vernon, Mannings Lane, Hoole, Chester

30/4/99 Little attention has been paid to the concerns of residents on the trackside of the former Shotton-Mickle Trafford rail line.
The planners talk of Park & Ride and a stop between Newton Lane. This Is a good walk from the city.
The developers have already cut down trees and bushes which made the area attractive and provided some cover for wildlife.
The scheme would take a lucrative route from buses. There are already more than enough Park & Rlde areas about Chester.
At a time when the councils are scratching their heads to find money for school buses and repairs, thisis one item they can scrap. No one wants it.
Dora Taylor, Chester Community/Ratepayers Party

30/4/99 We are bombarded by the CDTS, the local transport plan, cycle routes that go nowhere, with every kind of solution to our traffic problems.
Eventually someone has to grasp the nettle of the real issue. When everything is in place, how are we going to be made to use it?
Are we to restrict parking on the city fringes and up the centre charges yet again?
There are people who will pay to park in the centre whatever the cost. Many of these people have the weakest case for being there.
There is one word missing from all the schemes and that is fairness. Has thought been given to the consequences of cycleways where they won't be overseen but run close to built up areas thus encouraging vandalism, why is there such coyness about cycleway provision along some of our major roads where there is room and they would be of real value?
Alex woods, Long Looms, Great Barrow near Chester

30/4/99 Copy of a letter to John Prescott MP
I urge you as Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions to consider the impact of the Chester Deeside Transport System on the environment and the lives of local people.
Mature trees have been felled and areas to he cleared include those where there is widespread wildlife.
As Chester is already surrounded by Park & Ride sites, local people cannot see the need for yet another. We want the old rail route converted into a cycle and walkway only.
Our city and county councils are obsessed with cramming as many bodies into Chester as possible. As a result, local people are now beginning to shop elsewhere in the area, travelling to Ellesmere Port, Mold and even Warrington, in a bid to escape the crush.
Chester Is becoming dirtier and more unpleasant, due mainly to the fact that so many more visitors are swarming here.
The councils appear to be led by disciples of consumerism, who have no concern for the opinions of the people whose views they are supposed to represent. Please listen to the voices of the local population. New Labour would earn a great deal of support from many residents if it refused to be persuaded by projected statistics and costly exhibitions into giving an unwanted scheme the go ahead. One only has to look at the letters pages of the local press to see that there is huge opposition to CDTS.
What is the point of these so-called consultations if the councils can apparently disregard the view of residents and go on planning these money making schemes as if it is a foregone conclusion that the CDTS will be realised. Is it that the provincial person has no clout these days? As you know from vour peronal association with Chester, the 1997 General Election was an historic victory for the Labour Party in our city, We had high hopes that our support would be reciprocated.
Please do not waste up to £7million of central Government funding on a system that the majority of Chester residents neither need nor want.
Sue Parry, Kelvin Grove, Newton Brook, Chester

30/4/99 I refer to consultation on the CDTS and the views expressed by Cllr Peter Byrne.
What is clogging up the historic streets of Chester is not cars but people.
The city is bursting at its seams. Chester is an historic city, with a unique shopping centre and a strong sense or commercial opportunism.
Not much will change that and people will continue to come. What is desperately needed in the city centre is more extensive pedestrianisation with access restricted to those with specific needs.
Shoppers and commuters will always try to park free in residential areas close to the city.
Annoying as this is to many residents, it will not be resolved by more Park and Rides without deterrent measures in place.
The population of Chester itself is growing rapidly. Dukes Manor, Newry Park and the canal basin development are just some examples on this side of the city- What amenities does Chester offer its increasing population? Very little.
A city centre overcrowded to saturation if not danger point, historic walls too busy to enjoy, the Groves and park no longer a relaxing place, a leisure centre out of date and out of place, devoting more time to computer and antique fairs than facilities for residents. Every piece of green sold off to development.
Now councillors have a chance to do something for this city- something outstanding and probably courageous.
They must resist the lure of money. They must turn away the planners and political elitists who see their epitaphs etched in the concrete of the busway.
They must reject a proposal that offers little to the residents or Chester. They must give resounding support to a cycle/walkway, which would enhance the quality of life for so many providing a safe recreational environment for young and old, resident or visitor.
Chester does not need a busway with a glorified pavement enclosed by fences upon which ramblers, dog owners, runners, cyclists and families will have to compete with each other for space.
PA Lambe, Abbots Grange, Chester

6/5/99 The former railway line from Mickle Trafford to Deeside should be for walkers and cyclists only- no buses as they do not mix because of their noise, air pollution and danger when leaving or joining the route... This green corridor should be adapted as a valuable amenity and green space for local residents and visitors alike.
Go and see the Wirral Way or the old track from Dyserth to Prestatyn- both of those routes have been utilised as walkways and cycleways- with no bus intrusion. They are well used by locals especially- and the same would be true here, from Shotton to Mickle Trafford.
Another point, as rail freight has increased by approximately 10 per cent this year, should not the authorities he cautious about transforming this rail route in case it is needed in the future?
Another idea is that maybe a single line tramway would suffice to the city centre. At least it would he environmentally friendly, hardly any pollution and could serve a park and ride.
Also, if inspectors from the Department of Transport insist on bus lanes on Hoole Road there would then be no need for such a busway along the green and pleasant former rail route.
Keep the trees, vegetation, wild animals and flowers intact. We do not want to see these destroyed. I use my bicycle to go to work. This route would be a great help. Encourage cyclists. Visit Europe to see cyclists galore!
John Whittingham, Hoole, Chester

6/5/99 If you know of anyone who is thinking of running a book on the outcome of the CDTS busway scheme, will you please let me know as I would like to place a small wager.
Had I bet on the controversy over the Town Hall masts, I'm afraid I would have lost my money.
D C Musto, Vicars Cross

7/5/99 Chester Green Forum is offering some financial assistance to local groups and organisations which are fighting to save Chester's green space.
Groups may find they need help in either publicising the issues to the local people, or preparing a case for the public inquiry when objecting to the Local Plan.
The Local Plan is a crucial document for the people of Chester and it is important we all understand the consequences of its contents and object to any proposal we think will adversely affect our quality of life.
Silence is taken as approval and it is very difficult to reverse anything that is included in the final version.
One important aspect that affets us all is the ever-diminishing amount of green space, whether it is fields, parks, disused railways or school playing fields.
This is particularly the case in the Sealand Basin where there are so many issues- CDTS- guided busway instead of a greenway, Chester Western Relief Road- with all the associated development and traffic, B&Q warehouse- with all the additional traffic, Blacon Meadows- ever decreasing in each version of the plan, allotments- disappearing despite great support, and playing fields disappearing.
As Chester Green Forum will not be organising the annual Chester Green Day this year they have decided to divert £300 of their funds to help local groups in the fight to save green space.
If you wish to make a bid for this money then send a letter to the address below by May18th, giving details of your group, the issue you are campaigning against, how much you want to bid for and what you would use the money for.
Given the number of items around, and the deficiencies of the consultation process to planning issues, it is not easy to grasp a good understanding of what is being proposed. However, there are acute consequences to ignoring it all so please make the effort to find out how your area will be affected by the plan.
Consultation on the plan will take place between May 10 and June 18. Contact Town Hall for details of where to view plan and how to make objections to it.
CHESTER GREEN FORUM, c/o 32 Granville Road, Chester CH1 4DD

12/5/99 Readers may be interested in studying the following recommendations regarding the future use of the disused Mickle Trafford-Deeside railway. Their origin- revealed below- may prove surprising...

"The Structure Plan identifies Chester as an area where more investment is needed in small scale improvements for provision of countryside recreation on the fringe of the urban area. The Greater Chester District Plan identifies Blacon and Hoole as as areas where there should be additional parks or informal open spaces.
Cyclists are badly catered for in the countryside and the government is urging local authorities to make use of disused railway lines to provide cycling facilities. The potential of Cheshire as a tourist attraction for cyclists has only recently been recognised. If the line were developed for cycling it would provide an excellent link between the new Cheshire cycleway, which meets Chester on its eastern boundary, and possible new routes leading into Wales and Wirral.
One of the most important factors influencing people's willingness to cycle is safety from heavy volumes of traffic. A segregated cycletrack with potential access to the city centre, college and industrial areas could offer significant advantages to shoppers, workers, students etc., and could also offer a safe area for younger cyclists to improve their proficiency. Such a proposal would have to be combined with adequate access points and with secure cycle parks at appropriate points, eg. the Northgate Arena.
The path would have a smooth surface which would be suitable for pedestrians as well as cycles, wheelchairs and prams. It would also provide a path for dog walkers.
Through the urban area, from Blacon in the west to Newton in the east, such a combined cyeletrack/pedestrian route (urban path) would provide a safe route from residential areas to the City centre. Access to the track could be provided at strategic locations to serve the adjacent residential areas.
The former Blacon Station site is considered a suitable point at which to start the urban path, while Mannings Lane South would be a convenient terminal point where access could be safe1y provided away from busy main roads.
Horses. Any provision for safe riding is clearly welcomed. Guilden Sutton Parish Council have requested that the line in their area be converted for such use. If some footpaths linking the line with minor roads were upgraded to bridleway, and provided with a suitable surface, attractive safe cross-country routes could be created from Chester into Wirral and to Delamere Forest.
Natural History. Most of the route passes through banks of trees and bushes which attract birds and insects. There are many common wildflowers. Immediately, therefore the line has interest for the natural historian. Careful development could enhance this interest. Sympathetic management linked to interpretation could create a 'reserve' of considerable interest to the average walker and for those concerned with natural history education. Areas readily accesible in, or adjacent to the city which are managed to create a natural environment are few. The natural historical interest of the line would therefore be of general, touristic and educational value.
Construction. If the existing railway ballast is left in place, then a satisfactory hard surface could be provided by reshaping the ballast, binding with a fine granular material and surfacing with tarmac. The path would be three metres wide with the remaining width of ballast being soiled over to provide a grassed margin. Street lighting would he provided along the length of the path to aid security, although it is anticipated that use at night would be limited.
Management. In order to combat vandalism motorcycling would be prohibited and the Urban Path would be under Ranger management. The maintainance of the path would be the responsiibility of the Highways Department.
Landscaping. The margins of the land surface adjacent to the path would he allowed to merge into adjacent planting to avoid a hard edge to the path. Due to the constraints imposed by embankments and cuttings, the only immediate landscape work would be extensive planting. Trees and shrubs could be planted to frame views and to provide shelter on the more exposed lengths. Shrub planting could be allowed to encroach so that long vistas on straight portions of the path are broken up. Where space permits, the path could be widened to make room for small seating areas.
Past experience shows that, once a railway line is abandoned, much natural regeneration takes place in the plant communities which exist alongside the line. The new planting would reinforce this natural regeneration. Landscaping on a larger scale could be carried out by removing embankments and reshaping the cutting areas. Whilst this work could lessen the visual intrusion of the embankments for adjoining property, it is a relatively expensive operation and it is considered that extensive planting would achieve acceptable results. The urban path would provide a safe and convenient route for pedestrians and cyclists from residential areas into the city centre. It would benefit the people of Chester, make a contribution to provision for the 'leisure age' and create a new focus for tourism."

Admirable stuff eh? A vision of a peaceful, but practical, green highway very much according with the wishes of the vast majority of Chester's residents, if the multitude of objections to CDTS in the local press- and on councillors and planners desks- over the last few years are anything to go by.
How surprising then, to learn that the above excellent recommendations were in fact made by own dear Cheshire County Council in a report published in August 1984!
In the fifteen years since this report was published there has been a great increase in local environmental concern, but at the same time a considerable worsening in conditions for pedestrians and cyclists- to the degree where there exists virtually nowhere at all in Chester where we can cycle in peace and safety as a family- as well as the rapid disappearance of our green open spaces: Blacon Meadows, the Stone Park and the lovely reserve behind Northgate Village are just a few of the 'appropriations' going on right now.
Those of you concerned about the current idiotic CDTS plans should read this report in its entirety- I found it in the reference section of Chester Library. Its numerous well-reasoned, forward-looking recommendations make for fascinating reading when compared with the present scandalous proposals. Its like has not come out of Backward Hall for many years, so maybe it is high time it was dusted off and presented to Chester's citzens as 'the other side' of what, to date, has been seen by all as a grossly biased council programme of consultation and information.
Steve Howe, 25 Lime Grove, Hoole Chester

13/5/99 John Whittingham of Hoole (see above) is right that CDTS should be built as a modern tramway, instead of a busway. Being electrically powered, supertrams are clean, quiet and create no fumes. Thus they would be harmonious with the adjacent cycle/walkway, and would satisfy local residents' concerns.
A modern tram can carry more people than a bus. So whereas the busway would serve the park-and-ride only, supertrams would have room to also carry Cestrians from local stops in Newton, Hoole, Noiihgate Village, etc.
Nottingham's new trams will run onto main line rail tracks. Here in Chester, they could run beyond the city boundaries to Flint for example, or to Helsby and Frodsham. Impossible with a busway.
Around the world light rail systems have succeeded in enticing people out of their cars. Patronage on Manchester's Metrolink is booming. In contrast, bus usage has been declining continually since the 1950s and buses are regarded by motorists as down-market.
In a nutshell, building CDTS as a light rail system would do more to solve the city's transport pmblems than a busway, be more environmentally friendly, be compatible with the Sustrans walk/cycleway, would satisfy local residents' concerns and could serve a much wider area in the long term.
How about it city and county councillors?
Green Transport Campaigner

13/5/99 I didn't vote in last Thursday's local elections. i As a strong believer in democracy and citzenship, this is the first time in over 20 years I have failed to register my vote. So perhaps I need to say why.
Firstly, the sense that local councillors no longer purport to represent the people they were elected to serve- CDTS being one prime example, among many. Secondly, the candidates for the Waverton seat. I heard nothing at all from the Labour person (no leaflet or visit), received two unimpressive leaflets from the Conservative candidate and a welcome visit from the Lib Dem councillor.
He didn't appear to know the local Lib Dem view on CDTS, and questioned why I should be bothered about it, presumably because I live in Waverton. Now he seemed a perfectly reasonable bloke, but none of this is a reason to vote for him. So I voted for no one.
I think the message is clear to local politicians- you need to do better!
Richard Sayle, 98 Ringway, Waverton, Chester

13/5/99 The public consultation figures provided by Cheshire County Council show that the Chester Deeside Transport System (CDTS) does not have the backing of the people living in Chester.
Most of the support for the CDTS has come from areas outside Chester, such as Wrexham, Comah's Quay, Northwich, Frodsham, HeIsby and Ellesmere Port. The Government White Paper on Transport requires major expnsive transport schemes such as this to have the backing of the local community- this does not.
Ann Jones, Planning Co-ordinator, Chester District CPRE, 101 Daleside, Upton Heath Chester

13/5/99 How much the Chester busway proposal resembles transport boondoggles on this side of the pond. Another over-designed and over-financed 'solution' built on the non-sequitur that public transit gets people out of cars. it just isn't so and never has been, not in the US, the UK or any place else for that matter. Automobile ownership is a function of disposable income, and when there's plenty of it, as there is now, you can expect miles driven to increase and keep on increasing until the next depression.
As for the idea that the proposed bus corridor could become a cycling alternative, forget that too. It may be cultural imperative to do so in Amsterdam, but expecting people to cycle to work or shopping who have never done so is even more unrealistic than bus travel. Instead, a bikeway should be looked on as a recreational path that has the capacity to be used for personal business, should that someday become the local custom.
As for derailing the busway, the bureaucrats who have proposed it are the problem. Find an out for them and the money they want to spend and the plan might be defeated. Could the corridor become part of a dedicated bike loop around the Mersey Estuary, perhaps?
Dick Mackay, Hanover, NH, USA

13/5/99 May we thank you for your unbiased editing and publishing of Points of View pages, which are always of interest, especially the remarks passed about the amazing plans for CDTS, the mind boggling busway very few people want, with the ever increasing circles of Park and Ride sites. OK if you are a car I guess! Now there are one or two really important points we should like to pick up on.
1. The statement that Hoole Road would become an "essential traffic road only". This sent the old minds in a whirl I can tell you. Human nature being what it is, the next route used by traffic unable to use Hoole Road, you've got it. Kingsway- so the council make that an "essential traffic only road" and the busway. Why? He won't have to wait to get out on to Hoole Road he confided. Hold on a minute, sir, are you essential traffic? Sorry to burst your pretty balloon.
2. This busway is supposed to remove congestion. Perhaps some councillor could tell us why they are cutting public buses and hiking up school bus fares from 48p to 95p a child? Is this another secret weapon to stop congestion? Are we spinning or is someone else?
3. Not on Points of View pages I know, but a little bird has whispered in my ear, is it true or false, all Cheshire residents will be paying for the next 25 years for the proposed CDTS.
2 OAPs

13/5/99 Preservation Group wishes to thank the 200 residents who attended the CDTS residents' meeting on 5th May. The meeting was open to all, whether for or against the CDTS. It should be noted, however, that there was 100 per cent opposition to the project. The main issues discussed were:
I. Northgate Village green park will be severely affected- even the ponds will disappear.
2. Chris Blandford Associates who are carrying out the environmental asseswnent have a conflict of interests, as they supplied the artist's impression for CDTS promotional literature. They therefore cannot be considered independent. The environment assessment document is due for release on Monday, 10th May, and people have just 18 days to comment.
3. People's views are not being voiced by their elected councillors. People want councillors who listen and act on their behalf.
4. Council acting unlawfully by not allowing the public access to the comment forms.
5. People at the meeting discussed putting protest comments on electoral ballot form to voice their feelings.
6. The majority of Chester district people voted against the project. On the council's breakdown of 'other category' forms received, the 360 in favour of the project came from outside the Chester district area, i.e. Wrexham, Frodsham, Helsby and Connah's Quay, etc. People thought consulting such areas as these to be grossly unjust and against democracy.
The CPG are arranging another meeting in the very near future (19th May: All Saint's church hall, Hoole Road!) where councillors and other council officials will be requested to attend.
Clint Hughes, Paul Hobbs on behalf of the Cheshire Preservation Group

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