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

What the People Really Think part 8: 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

30/7/99 People in Chester are asked weekly to voice their objections to the CDTS. Have we not already done so?
But what has the response been? Our councillors have openly supported it, even when we say no.
Remember this the next time they come begging for your vote. Remember the £900,000 they have put aside to beat down us, the people. Next time you ask for things to be done in this city of ours and they say there is no money, remember the £900,000.
We must make a stand against these deaf councillors otherwise this city and county will be turned into a concrete jungle. Councillors are supposed to represent us. If they don't, then use your vote. Only we can stop the rot. Remember that. As I have said before, if they don't listen as local councillors, what chance have we when they get to Westminster?
Des Dodd, Carlisle Road, Blacon, Chester

30/7/99 On Monday, July 12, 1999, the full council of Chester and district decided to pass the use of the Shotton/Mickle Trafford railway line as a guided busway and cycle track.
This in spite of loud expressions from the public and local press against the plans. It now remains for the public in full voice to write to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, c/o TWA Processing Unit, Zone 3/11, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DR by not later than Monday, August 30.
The matter was debated in the council chamber, which was packed to capacity and the Town Hall was pressed into use, such was the feeling against the proposal. There was a half-hearted debate and the matter was voted through. Mr N Siddall made a very good speech in defence of the track remainirig as a nature walk for both present and future generations.
He spoke in the ten minute public speaking time allowed by giving five working days notice of his intentions to do so. This facility is open to the public and it should be used more often.
But those who use it should be prepared to face refusal to be heard by the chairman of the committee or council if their remarks are considered defamatory, even though they are not.
It's a ploy to stifle fair comment and complaint.
Dora Taylor, Chester Community/Ratepayers' Party Newtown, Chester

5/8/99 I'm not sure which world Mr Gilespie lives in when he calls himself a realist but I don't think it is this one. I would like to answer some of his points he made in defence of CDTS.
Firstly, the scheme will not improve the flora and fauna locally. Yes, there will be some pretty planting to make the areas involved look pleasing to the eye, but most of this will not be indigenous planting, will take many years to become established, and in replacing vegetation that is currently wildlife orientated and has taken years to mature.
Further, where are the extra 40 acres of green space to be created to replace that lost to the park and ride car park and associated roads? By the way, I presume that you noticed the environmental impact study was published AFTER the public consultation period. I always thought that in situations like those, it should have been the other way round, or am I being naive?
Not being a traffic engineer I would readily accept that as yet I am unable to provide a solution to our city's traffic problems, but by its own figures the council proves that this scheme won't either.
It expects traffic on Hoole Road to redruce by three per cent. Is that what you would call a successtul solution? Don't forget, traffic is expected to increase by 30 per cent over the next 10 years. Where is the other 27 per cent going to go? I would like any pro-CDTS councillor to publicly explain to me how that is our solution. I'm sure we could hear phrases like "in conjunction with other initiatives" ad nauseam, but when you get down to the nuts and bolts of reducing traffic in the city, it will not deliver.
Mr Gilespie is rightfully concerned about the old, the infirm and those with heavy shopping bags. The council obviously are not. The CDTS provides just one pick-up point along the whole 2.8km of the busway so that the majority of those it is supposed to help will have no access to it. If this is due to structural problems, then it is understandable, but in that case the CDTS should not be put forward as a great benefit to local residents (more disinformation!)
Finally, I'm afraid I fail to understand his last point. Tesco building a store on green belt is a no no (agreed) but apparently, building a 12,000 space car park and associated access roads is OK. I mllst be missing something there.
In reality, this scheme has nothing to do with reducing traffic problems, or being for the benefit of local residents, those facts do speak for themselves. It is about the expansion of the city into the green belt and the making available of land for development.
It is also about a missed opportunity to do something dynamic about the green development of the city instead of the never-ending concrete development, a missed opportunity to develop something everlasting for the good of the city rather than something with a dubious background, a short term fix which will disappear in the twinkling of a car headlight.
Gary Hughes, 1 Westbourne Road Chester

5/8/99 His desire to crow ahout the progress of CDTS has blinded John Gillespie to all the facts which do not support his views. To address just a few:
The public consultation he thinks so highly of was carried out by CDTS's backers, and an environmenial audit comparing CDTS, more properly, with a planted up greenway would give him much less comfort.
For a supposed CPRE sympathiser, supporting a big new car park in the green belt, against a big new car park with a Tesco in the middle, is called cutting off your nose to spite your face, mate. I don't much care what gets built up there myself- a normal park and ride would be OK by me. (there's your serious alternative transport scheme by the way) but I give CPRE credit for at least having a self consistent set of views on the mattter.
Although tempted to continue with a point by point rebuttal of everything Mr Gillespie had to say, I think I'll stop here and start my Ietter to the Transport and Works Act people instead. It'll be more productive. Anyone likewise annoyed by the arguments of the above, the armchair opinions of Cllr David Challen or the hairsplitting semantics of Cllr Peter Byrne should do the same.
CDTS Opponent

5/8/99 I would like to respond to the points made by a Mr John Gilespie of Mickle Trafford about the Chester Deeside Transport System.
Associated with proposals for the Chester Deeside guided busway, there are plans for a joint walkway and cycleway. However, these do not run alongside for the whole length. Where they do, it would be necessary to widen the old rail corridor, which was only single-track, concreting over the major part of the existing greenway through a built-up area. At Northgate, a large open space with ponds and wild grasses would be crossed, reducing the usable open area to a postage stamp. And there are places where the joint cycle and walkway would have to digress from the line of the rail corridor. One involves taking a wedge of playing fields.
The CDTS scheme will not improve the flora and fauna as claimed and it will decimate the wildlife. CPRE intend to argue this case at a public inquiry- if there is one. This is not a foregone conclusion and objectors should call for a public inquiry.
How does Mr Gilespie know that the public consultation showed popular public support for the CDTS? It should be remembered that the public consultation exercise asked people for their "comments and suggestions". It did not ask if they were in favour of or against the CDTS. The answers were therefore open to interpretation. Have the public consultation responses been made public? NO. We have been told that the people of Chester arc opposed to the scheme and that overall support for it has come from outside the city. But how do we know that respondents from outside the city fully understood what they were being asked to comment upon and how oo we know if we would agree with the interpretation of their answers if we cannot scrutinise them?
Mr Gilespie makes the rather odd statement that "none of the objectors has yet put forward a serious alternative to reduce car traffic in Hoole Road and the city centre".... None of the objectors are responsible for the decimation of branch rail lines or the decline and fragmentation of rail and bus services either. They have not caused the problem and it is not incumbent upon them to accept an imperfect proposal offered as a partial solution. However, the Council for the Protection of Rural England has put forward proposals in the past for a more fully integtated transport system in Chester which have not been given full and detailed consideration.
Even the most vociferous supporters of walking and cycling recognise that there are many categories of people for whom walking and cycling are never, rarely or only occasionally appropriate. (That said, most car owners could help alleviate present traffic problems by car sharing when possible and by using public transport at least occasionally and or by walking or cycling for short journeys if they are fit enough and relatively unencumbered).
It is apposite to point out here that, other than for those living in close proximity to the proposed park and ride site at Mannings Lane or the proposed stops, Phase One of the CDTS would not be accessible to walkers, especially the elderly. Access for cyclists is still unclear. Also, buses which are not environmentally-friendly and not fitted with guide wheels will he banned from using the guided busway. Conventional buses would therefore continue to use Hoole Road.
People doing a heavy shop in person are always going to favour private transport or taxis for getting a lot of shopping bags home, but a projected growth in home shopping will help that problem.
Mr Gilespie claims that the park and ride site would "scupper Tesco's ambitions to build on the same land thus preventing buildings from going up in the Green Belt". No it would not. If the land were released from green belt it would he open to future development. A senior county councillor recently admitted as much when making a general reference to Chester's park and ride sites in a council meeting. Also, the current plans for the park and ride site are only outline ones. A lot could happen between now and the granting of detailed planning permission and there is ample space to fit a supermarket on the site (it covers 25 acres after all!) And if Tesco, who own this land, or another store group, were ever allowed to open up here, it would totally negate the purpose ofbuilding the CDTS because it would create more traffic movements.
Mr Gilespie, who describes himself as a "realist and CPRE sympathiser", rerers to Ann Jones as "allegecily the CPRE's local representative". Why he should intimate so strongly (and so ungallantly) that she is not the CPRE's local representative is a puzzle. She is not only the well-respected and hard-working planning co-ordinator for Chester District CPRE, she is also the vice-charman of the County Transport Campaign Group and she and I enjoy the full support of CPRE's head of transport who, like us, is opposed to over-extensive use of park and ride when it involves the taking of greenfield sites and laying them open to future development.
Finally, I have checked our membership records and Mr Gilespie is not a member of CPRE.
Lillian Burns, Vice Chairman, CPRE Chester branch and Chairman, Cheshire Transport Campaign Group

5/8/99 I would like to address County Cllr Peter Byrne's letter in Points of View, 22nd July. It is rather inaccurate and misleading.
Firstly, the TWA gives authority to the council to deviate from the present submitted plans. Cllr Byrne referred to the 'limits of deviation' on the present plans. This is not the same issue. New drafts can be submitted which can supersede any existing plans.
The TWA order allows the council to cut down any trees or wildlife habitat it deems necessary so the project can be constructed, even in any I conservation area.
This order does give the council powers to restrict or remove any public rights of access to land affected by such projects governed by this order.
Cllr Byrne refers to the public consultation figures, namely 52 per cent being in favour of the CDTS, these have been proved to be wrong, even Cheshire County Council's updated documents show that there is a majority against CDTS. I hope Cllr Byrne is not suggesting that the council are submitting false information to the TWA committee?
The TWA order also does give authority to the council to dispose of any land or operating system associated with the CDTS. Cllr Byrne does admit though that the land is being transferred to the council's ownership.
I will gladly accompany Cllr Byrne or any other councillor to the library and educate them on the documents relating to the CDTS project, which have been submitted by their own respective councils.
It is very worrying that councillors such as he are ignorant as to the contents of such documentation.
P. Hobbs, 41 Victoria Koad, Chester

5/8/99 So John Gilespie signs himself a "realist and CPRE sympathiser" in last week's Standard. Does his realism take into account the funds allocated to the scheme will in no way cover the costs involved in building the CDTS busway, bearing in mind the need to raise the level of the existing route in some areas, the rebuilding of bridges to accommodate the buses, etc? The costs will be astronomical. and it is no good going cap in hand to the government. I The Chester residents, most of whom will not find the route of any value, will have to bear the increasing costs over many years.
With regards to the facts as depicted by Mr Gilespie, unfortunately they don't stand up to close scrutiny.
Fact number one suggests that the altemative to the busway will be a walk/cycleway. Well we all agree with this as a viable alternative, which will not he anywhere near as disruptive to the area through which the track progresses. As a matter of fact, I use a portion of it now as a pleasant walkway for my children and myself. We gathered wild raspberries last week, and we are anticipating a good crop of blackberries soon. I think this answers in part fact two- flora, but with regards to fauna, Mr Gilespie seems to think that wildlife will increase with the busway's completion. Does he not realise that wild animals shun human activity, with very good reason? Perhaps he thinks that seeing squashed foxes, hedgehogs, rabbits and frogs on a roadway proves increased use of the area by them...
Fact three mentions that the public consultation showed support for the CDTS proposals. Clearly time and awareness have marched on, and it is present and futute support the CDTS scheme requires to continue, and it hasn't got it, as public awareness increases.
Fact four suggests that "none of the objectors has put forward a serious alternative to reduce the traffic on Hoole Road". This is probably correct, but part of the objection is that CDTS is not a viable proposition and probably few out-of-towners will use the park and ride facility. If he wants a proposition as an improvement to Hoole Road traffic-flow, how about using the money to widen Hoole Bridge?
In fact five, he suggests the "walking and cycling brigade" overlook the needs of the old and infirm. The old and the infirm don't like getting out of cars on their way into Chester, to then hop onto a bus, and vice-versa on the way home, when they can get privileged parking in the centre of Chester by displaying a disability ticket.
Mr Gilespie's sixth and final factor suggests that the park and ride proposals will scupper Tesco's ambitions to build on the same land, and he thinks he is a realist!
Did Tesco buy the green belt land to be used solely for a park and ride venture? I don't think so- more likely a way of ingratiating itself with the Chester Council. Watch that space.
M. Cunliffe, 269 Hoole Lane Chester

5/8/99 We know we have a devastatingly strong case against the planned CDTS busway scheme. The largest majority of those who have heen given the chance to learn the true facts don't want it and have shown just that. Now you too can see those who are trying to foist it upon us are attempting to gag us yet again, it would appear.
Readers may remember our first meeting was cancelled when the project manager (Carlton Roberts-James) of the planned CDTS busway scheme had a little talk to the head teacher of Newton School (where we were to hold our first meeting). It was cancelled- but we still had a successful meeting outside the school gates.
We feel, along with others, a certain newspaper (no beating about the bush here- the Chester Chronicle) has not give us unbiased reports and facts. Losing some stories that made headlines and front pages in the Evening Leader and the Standard, both of which have had lively points of view pages over a very long period on this subject. They have consistently given unbiased accounts of both sides of the argument. Both are excellent reads.
Today I went into Hoole libraty and asked for a list of all libraries in Cheshire. The lady there was very helpful, and provided me with a list of same. I then asked, "Can you tell me why our poster is not on the notice board?" She looked at the poster i had just produced from my handbag and said: "Oh, we have been told we can't have anything to do with the anti-CDTS and mustn't put your poster up". "We do have that there" she said, pointing to the council's plans, etc.. on the desk behind me. "Well if you have that you should be able to put our poster up."
I think censorship is an ugly word and had until the planned CDTS scheme not thought it likely in the UK, but it has tried to raise its head once again. The authorities have tried painting pretty pictures with little information of the devastating consequences of this planned scheme.
Most councillors have toed the party line, though God bless them, some have not. Thank you John Ebo, Colin Baines, Jean Evans, David Evans and Margaret Parker. (We should add Cllr Noel McGlinchey of Hoole to that list) When councillors who are supposed to be representing us start to dictate to us it is time we stood against them in great force. How? Write objections to: J. Prscott, DETR c/o The FWA Processing Unit, 76 Marsham St., London SWIP 4DR. On environmental grounds alone this scheme falls flat in the concrete it would rely on to carve up a natural green space and 40 acres of prime green belt land. If you are not aware of the full facts phone us between the hours of 8am to 6pm Weekdays on 01244 343055 or 343102 or 320207. It may be an answer phone as we are so busy, leave your name and address and we will do our very best to send/bring you a copy of our circular.
If you would like to have a small meeting of neighhours and friends even better- just let us know. We have been inundated and would he delighted if you could help us in anyway- taking a few circulars down your road or street for instance, to let everyone have the details they so obviously want.
We are officially called the Anti-CDTS-campaign groups, our chairman is Graham Bromley.
Public opinion is a very powerful thing it can stop anything- even mad 'white elephants' attempting to escape amongst the pleasant green areas, so few these days, we treasure so much. Way out of control it would plunder our pockets, £60m, £70m, £80m- even the councils don't know- and our environment too. Don't let it out of its pen.
A. Hodgkinson, Secretary to the Anti-CDTS campaign groups

12/8/99 We never fail to enjoy reading the Standard, it is an excellent paper and is read from cover to cover by everyone we speak to. We collect our friend's old copies and post them to all parts of the globe. Of course the ongoing saga of the CDTS busway is the hottest item, we get e-mails from everywhere about that.
Ref letter Losing their way in a recent issue of the Standard. Well Mr Gilespie, you a realist are you? There we were thinking you and many council planners and steering groups had their heads in brown paper bags.
You can see clearly then, that world pollution can no longer be ignored, that it is deadly serious? You can see we are all to blame for pollution and we must all do something about it. One thing we can do is use our cars less, by car sharing, using public transport, which our 'realist' councils will start to reintroduce on the existing roads that is, bringing commuters from their homes, with subsidies given not only to park and ride buses. There's no logic in the present set up- Use your care and get a cheap ticket, leave your car in the drive and pay a hell of a lot more.
We must learn to walk or cycle, on decent routes not to be thrown in with the lions as in the past, we deserve better than that. We do not pollute don't forget. Realists don't bring invalids, elderly, or people with heavy shopping into battle. No one is asking them to cycle or walk. Do give these people more credit, Mr Gilespie. They know those who consider the environment care for people and animals too. It is in our nature as a realist you must see thal surely?
Debunking Cllr? You are talking ahout the same Cllr Byrne who was invited to speak at a serious public meeting (after the first public meeting had been cancelled because of interference from thc CDTS manager Carlton Roberts-James) for people with concerns about this scheme? This man said he would pay compensation out of his own pocket for any property that lost value because of the CDTS busway? OK he did add 'only joking' after the cheering and jeering died down. That is your idea of debunking is it?
Solutions? You have got it all wrong Mr Gilespie; the idea is we taxpayers pay planners to come up with sensible solutions. Actually the solution is staring us all in the face- do not use your car needlessly. Give people pleasant walk/cycleways, much nicer than the hassle of car parking anyway, with healthier and more relaxed people, with no slimming problems. An added bonus- people away from the traffic routes means less use of pedestrian crossing lights, less congestion on existing roads, get it?
Realists battle (unpaid) to save the environment, our wildllife habitat and stop planners carving up any more of our green spaces where people can walk and cycle in peace, for once, away from traffic. Cars pollute, walkers and cyclists do not. Please Mr Gilespie think about the environment. It's time everyone did, we all have to live on this planet, there's no escape even for those with their heads still in a bag. Mr Gilespie think before you use your car, think 'No more concrete'- we do, that's what being a realist does to you.
Now Mr Gilespie put a true realist cap on and study the Environmental Statement again, cover to cover. Welcome to the ANTI-CDTS CAMPAIGN GROUPS.
Realists United

12/8/99 Councillor Peter Byrne has made a strong attack on CPRE with accusations of misrepresentation of the facts about the Chester Deeside Transport System (CDTS) linked to development opporunities.
Clear evidence can be found in the emerging Chester Local Plan that the development of greenfield sites in the Sealand Basin is directly linked to developers' contributions to the cost of constructing the Chester Western Relief Road which included CDTS Phase III.
It was not long ago, in the last Chester Local Plan, that councillors were keen to release land from the Chester greenbelt for development. The land at Mannings Lane was one of the sites they chose. CPRE and others had to rely on the decisions of the inquiry inspector and the Secretary of State to return the Mannings Lnne site to the green belt.
The council's own environment statement promoting CDTS Phase I predicts that the Mannings Lane park and ride site will be "dramatically changed" in character by the CDTS proposals.
Threats to Chester's greenfields by transport plans will continue to be of great concern to CPRE.
Ann Jones, Chester District CPRE 101 Daleside, Upton Heath, Chester

12/8/99 Letter to the Secretary ot State for the Government, Transport and the Regions, re: the proposed Chester busway CDTS scheme
The geography of Chester has to be taken into account before any other consideration. The City of Chester stands ahout 200ft above sea level. It is skirted by the curl of the River Dee, the Shropshire Union Canal and the railway system, making it virtually a tiny island accessible only by a road bridge from every direction.
Chester, historically has been a city served largely by railways, opening it up to the whole of the country. It was the Beeching Cuts that constricted that mode of access to what has been listed as one of the top places for retail sales in the country. This restriction has forced workers and shoppers to seek alternative means of transport.
Thc result has heen floods of incoming cars, lost to find somewhere to stop to allow the occupants to complete their business. Because the captive rural trading area of Chcster is so large, buses have not heen a viable option and it has not been viable to recover the cost of a covering bus service.
Unlike many places, the geography of the city, will not allow a sprawl to expand commercially to enable the annually increased costs of running shopping business to be held steady. Moreover the space that is needed to be taken for adequate car parks is too excessive and valuable, space is at a premium in Chester. Also, the law of supply and demand has the effect of increasing car parking charges: another deterrent to shoppers.
The grossly obvious alternalive to buses is re-use the railways for the following reasons:

  • The Wayleaves for the tracks are already there, although not now used.
  • The staffing costs forrunning a railway train are only a tenth of that needed for an equivalent bus service.
  • The potential for passenger carrying is greater, hence the pollution factor is considerably reduced.
  • The emissions from the vastly increased number of buses needed to supply all the needs of the public would be incredibly high.
  • The capture area for the proposed busway is only tiny compared to the potential of the existing railways.
  • Finally, to complete Chester's transport problems for all time, an underground extension from the Northgate rail track, terminating in the heart of the pedestrianised city centre would remove the need for hundreds of thousands of road vehicles, every year, and release space for improved public amenities.

    The prospect of using one road wholly for the purpose of the use of bus access to the city, and what that means in terms of the disfigurement of the historic appearance, and the sterilization of the shops on the route, is unthinkable.
    There is only one complete transport solution for Chester, and that is an underground rail tunnel running the 600 metres from Eastgate Street to the rail cutting at the Northgate Roundabout, thus striking out the general need for road transport.
    James T lndermaur, 41 Shaftesbury Avenue, Vicars Cross Chester

12/8/99 Council officials are pushing ahead with th CDTS busway, so it could at a future date be converted into a road to carry car traffic, according to the national magazine Urban Transit.
The journal says that officials feared a conventional bypass would be rejected by the public. The magazine clearly has access to inside information being kept from local people.
This possibility could be blocked by Cestrians insisting that CDTS- if it goes ahead at all - is built as a supertram like Manchester's Metrolink. A supertram/light rail system would have many other advantages- silent and fume-free being electrically powered; level and low floor throughout the vehicles so fully accessible to the disabled, elderly and parents with prams; more harmonious with the adjoining walkway/cycleway, wildlife and nearby homes. And it's common sense that reinstating rails along the old railway would cost less than building a concrete bus road.
Around the world, towns and cities are building new light rail/tram routes. Essen in Germany for example, is expanding its tram system but in contrast, has abandoned several of its busways and is planning no new ones. (As is also the case in Australia) Perhaps we now know why council officials in Chester are pushing the busway idea against all reason.
The closing date for objections to CDTS has now passed. But anyone who has lodged one could send a supplementary letter stating (without prejudice to their opposition in principle) that if CDTS is built, it should be a tram/light rail system.
That way, Chester would get a much better public transport system and residents along the route could prevent a bus road or worse behind their homes.
Green Transport Campaigner

12/8/99 No, Mr Byrne. I am anything but reassured about the CDTS. The arrogance of councillors is frightening. In 1995 the scheme would cost £15 million now it is £40m. Heaven only knows the final cost- but it could reach that high.
How many councillors and others in favour actually live near the railway? John Prescott's mother is a prime example. 'Yes' says she who lives miles away from the line. Will it take cars off the road? The answer is no. The council have confirmed this by their actions. If it takes cars off the road there would not be a need to waste acres of greenbelt land to he turned into a 1,200 space car park.
At present I look out on to the railway embankment with trees and greenery. Come the CDTS, it will be a concrete corridor which will have to be high enough to stop derailed buses landing in gardens or the road. It will not be a pretty sight.
What compensation will be paid to those who have to put up with the noise, dirt, disruption, caused by hammering, drilling, digging and traffic chaos and devaluation of property during and after construction?
Who will want to walk or cycle along a concrete corridor? (Not us for starters) Who will monitor what is happening in the corridor? Collect rubbish, remove unwanteds etc? What happens if it turns out to be a white elephant? Donate it to the Zoo as a rare species?
M.E.Bruce, 16 Blacon Hall Road Chester

19/8/99 Concerning Cllr Byrne's latest and, as usual, innacurate list of assertions about the CDTS scheme, I would like to take issue in particular with his statement that the busway will reduce car journeys in the city, thus protecting the health of those people living and working there.
The reduction of 440,000 car journeys per year on Hoole Road simply reflects Mr Byrne's belief that the proposed park ahd ride will be filled every day of the year with 1,200 cars. This may seem a lot but the county council's own environmental report states that traffic on Hoole Road will be reduced as a result by only two-three percent in the short term.
Furthermore, the proposed Mannings Lane park and ride site is so close to the zoo and Boughton sites that some motorists may actually switch from the latter to the Mannings Lane site. There is little doubt too that people living in the suburbs of Hoole, Newton and Upton will also prefer to drive to the site rather than use the inferior and more expensive local bus services or to pay through the nose to park in the city centre.
Another fact conveniently omitted from Cllr Byrne's list is that guided buses on the CDTS route will be making a total of 192 journeys daily to and from the city centre over a 12 hour period. Many of these will be running pratically empty outside the rush hours and will significantly increase pollution levels along this route.
While I agree with Mr Byrne that park and ride schemes situated at the edge of cities do reduce city centre traffic, his obsession with the city centre has made him oblivious to the effects of park and ride further afield. It has become evident as a result of research that park and ride schemes have had the effect of increasing traffic and pollution in cities up and down the country.
Park and rides actually encourage people to get into their cars and drive. This is because they make life so mush easier for the motorist- at least in the short term. They encourage people to drive long distances to the edge ot cities hefore taking short, fast and cheap bus journeys to city centres. This will not be a pleasant option much longer for many, however, as the traffic on our roads continues to increase and pollution increases to more alarming and dangerous levels.
Schemes such as CDTS go against and positively undermine government transport policy which is to provide sustainable and integrated transport systems with the aim of significantly reducing people's reliance on the car.
So what are the alternatives? Although most people, including myself, would prefer a cycleway/ walkway along the route of the old railway line, another sensible alternative to the CDTS would he a light railway linking Chester to other outlying urban centres. It would have the advantage of being considerably cheaper, preserve green belt and and save the threatened wildlife habitat all the way along the line.
Finally, if Mr Byrne is really as concerned ahout the health of Chester residents as he claims, perhaps he will take steps to ensure that local bus services now in decline are greatly improved and extended, a comprehensive network of safe cycleways is created, and that the number of green suburban spaces is increased.
Graham Bromley, Anti-CDTS Campaign, 30 Knowsley Road, Hoole Chester

19/8/99 I fully expect to see "only joking" (his words uttered after he made the statement he would pay compensation out of his own pocket for any house that lost value because of the planned two-lane concrete busway) at the end of the points of view letter by Cllr Byrne last week.
First of all, Cllr Byrne- fellow ANTI CDTS Campaign Group members are not mine, they are all strong minded individuals trying to save what is Ieft of our green spaces in which we all live.
Someone has to protect the environment, we can't just go on providing yet more easy parking instead of getting to grips with the problem as a whole. Thank the Lord we have always had such people through history, fighting, lawfully, for what they believe in, not bowing to 'those who must be obeyed'. We work a little differently in the ANTI CDTS, it is run democratically. Hence nobdy 'owns' anyone- they are all free thinking people.
. Now to our poster drawn up by committee: destruction of greenbelt land and wildlife habitat, not cost effective, cost- £10.5 million plus- increase in local taxation, car dependent, socially exclusive, Chester already has over 8,000 park and ride spaces, local bus services have been cut and fares increased, it is not an integrated transport system.
Most of this information can be found by reading the council's own environmental study book or the CDTS information pack in the library.
Some of the powers the council would be granted will shock many people if this planned busway goes ahead. Now, Cllr Byrne- the park and ride spaces. I am surprised that you forgot to add the zoo 'overflow' car park spaces. You may remember planning permission was only granted on the proviso it was also used for P&R car parkingand must therefore be part and parcel of the P&R car spaces total figures mustn't it? Has anyone mentioned the running costs of this scheme to the public yet? Cllr Byrne, is the cost of running this really going to be £1.25 million per annum? Who is to pay for this?
Even the two-three percent traffic reduction is debatable, as according to Dr Parkhurst of the Transport Studies Unit of University College, London "it seems common sense that if you provide one standard for P&R car drivers and a lower standard for other bus users, it will only be a matter of time before they switch to P&R, getting into their cars to do so".
If any group would like us to come and give a talk on the history of the railway line and other interesting information with illustrations, or would like to amalgamate with us, do get in touch, no matter where you live in Cheshire. After all, YOU will be paying if the scheme goes ahead, in more ways than one. 01244 320207, 343055 or 345099
Anti-CDTS Campaign Groups

19/8/99 With regard to half truths. Why would Tesco buy this Mannings Lane site if it had not been given the nod and a wink that the current planning policy would change as soon as the furore had died down and the council had got its way with the busway?
These kind of companies do not do anything without wanting something back in return. Councillor Boughton says Tesco has been told "in no uncertain terms" that no development will be allowed. Can he obtain a letter from Tesco stating this is so, to be published in the Standard and stating there there will be no development at the Mannings Lane site, now or in the future?
Has Cllr Boughton the authority to say a developer cannot apply for planning permission at a later date? Is he on the planning committee? Even if it was recommended by Mr. Farrell to turn the development down, these developers appeal and they do not often lose their appeals.
Can you, Mr Farrell and Cllr Byrne, give an undertaking the busway will never become a by-pass or road? Can you really give these assurances and is it not you who are dealing in half-truths? You councillors and planners will turn local people away from Chester, who will go for example to Ellesmere Port, Cheshire Oaks and Broughton to shop.
Take notice of the people of Chester instead of pumping millions of pounds into a scheme which will make the councils of Chester a laughing stock. A busway which does not benefit local people, but for tourists and those who do not live in Chester, but local people have to suffer from the start for this idiotic scheme.
If Sustrans had been given their way they would have made a cycle/walkway on the existing track bed if it had not been for the councils wanting this busway. They would not have needed to deviate but for the councils' deviousness, which could be easily seen at the Sustrans planning meeting.
All that is left to say to Cllrs Boughton and Byrne is "On your bikes''.
Chester reader

19/8/99 Regarding the proposed concrete Busway on the old Mickle Trafford Line, the propaganda being pushed out by the Chester Council and Cheshire county Council is a disgrace. Proposals put forward by many other European cities and towns more than 25 years ago looked for a substantial reduction in car usage in conurbations. In many cases the target of 20 per cent reduction has been well exceeded. In one German city it was reported to have reached a 50 per cent reduction, enhancing the life style of citizens, not destroying it.
Contrast that with Chester. Over the last 15 years residents and particularly people working in the town centre have been subjected to ever increasing levels of pollution damaging to their health as more vehicles travel through the streets.
Park and ride is put forward as a great concept but as a detailed article in the Daily Telegraph (lOth July 1999) points out, "Far from easing congestion and pollution in our cities, evidence suggests that taking drivers into town by bus only makes matters worse".
I shudder to think what the final cost to ratepayers and taxpayers will be. Environmentally, this scheme should be a non-starter. Isn't the aim to reduce pollution? This scheme will increase it in many ways, worsen the quality of life for many people, is money ill spent and is of no benefit whatever to Chester residents.
Peter Shepherd, Westminster Park Chester

26/8/99 Are the local council aware of what is going on in the real world? Why is it that local residents who want a democratic right with freedom of speech are brow beaten by the local and county councils, who will not hear what concerns we all have in different parts of this project? The local councillors have shown their true colours since being elected to their various wards in their area.
Why are residents, and other people who live near the Mickle Trafford-Deeside railway line, turning a blind eye to this project of the rape of the landscape, death of animals who also have a right to live, and noise and air pollution?
Wake up people of Chester, it's costing you, each and every one of us, our hard earned money!
Do you want to pay for something that you will not use if you live within walking distance, or have local buses every few minutes to the city centre?
Just have a good look at the steady rise in council tax payments over the coming years. Can the people of Chester let the local and county councils walk all over us?
Stand up and be united over this decision that will affect us all in one way or another! If the Secretary of State passes the project at the public enquiry all the phases will follow. Remember it's costing us all our hard earned money regardless of where we all live!
Concerned Blacon resident

26/8/99 What a strange place Chester is! We have the South Cheshire Authority launching a countywide environmental competition for their health care premises. Great news. I would have thought all authorities should be doing that these days.
But no, the steering committee headed by our "Only Joking" Cllr Peter Byrne, advocates destroying eight miles of leafy landscape and 40 acres of green belt land for a two lane concrete busway and tarmac for an inanimate object- the car. He says it is also healthier for Chester people and visitors too. Amazing.
That something is a part of modern life means we have to live with the consequences of the harm it is doing to the environment is not the way forward- we are all doomed if it is. We must all (including the heads of steering groups) grasp we can no longer use the car needlessly. Chester planners must stop sending out signals that we shall give up every blade of grass to cope with demand to park cars more easily.
We must all think very carefully how much we are still prepared to give up to cater for the car. Don't take our word for it, the environment is already warning us. You can still write to John Prescott with your objections to the CDTS and the environmental damage this planned busway and 40 acre P&R will do.
Rural buses have been withdrawn forcing more and more people to get into their cars, most don't want to, it is being forced on them. Our friends all around Cheshire tell us this. Where is the logic in that?
Want to know more aocut the CDTS? We found www.bwpics.co.uk/chester.html (So did you!) Everything on this web site is worth a read It has humour, excellent photography, and a huge amount of info. Take a 'virtual stroll' down the Mickle Trafford Railway too. Great if you are unable to manage it in reality. Every able-bodied person should take a walk along it: it is so pleasantly peaceful away from the traffic noise and pollution. Put a stout pair of shoes on though. We old pair managed to scramble down by the Hollows at Fairfield Road.
Some lovely blackberries and crab apples too. We are having blackberry pie for tea. It has just come out of the oven, must dash.
Two OAPs

26/8/99 I recently attended a council meeting associated with the vote on the CDTS proposals. Prior to the meeting the representative of the Anti-CDTS group was given the chance to address the council members. I thought he presented a sound and logical argument although only given a short brief.
I then expected to hear a sound and logical argument from the council members, as to what benefit the City of Chester and its people would gain from the scheme. What I did hear was the most dismissive, arrogant and unprofessional speeches I have ever heard for such and important agenda, it was a disgrace.
The councillors fell out amongst themselves on procedural issues and accused the councillors who voted against it as 'playing to the gallery' for their own ends.
The 1,500 signature petition was ridiculed and dismissed as 'newspaper propaganda'. I was so amazed at the arrogance and attitude of these people who run our city.
I would ask Cllr Byrne these few questions:

  • Has the council issued or propose to issue compulsory purchase orders against people living adjacent to the CDTS route for part of their gardens or access to the rear of their properties shutting off access to their homes to enable the track to be built?
  • How will you restrict traffic filling up the spaces on Hoole Road as you claim you will, when hundreds of people use if for work outside the City, the commercial traffic, 400-500 Post Office vehicle journeys and the many people who work on the south side of the city for which the CDTS will do nothing?
  • People are complaining about the roads through Upton, Newton and Kingsway becoming congested with traffic from the A56/A41, a lot of which goes through to the Sealand Road areas. There is no public transport from east to west of the City. How will the CDTS help people get to work, shopping etc., in the Sealand Road area?
  • Earlier on in the year a hurriedly-written letter from the planners at Backford telling people who live close to the track that cutting and felling trees would take place from Monday to Friday. In fact work started on the Saturday. they also said the logs/trees would be made into wood chippings and taken away. No so- logs and chippings are still there after six months.
  • Why was Sustrans taken off the project as they have been involved all over the country and seem to have been successful?
In conclusion I would just like to say to Mr Gilespie, you were quite right the track was twin track for many years although in the later years only used as a one track system. But remember trains can pass much closer than buses and the fact that the track will have to be raised to accommodate the buses and therefore widened it will present problems with the bridges.
I would say to you, and the Mickle Trafford councillors who are in support of it, would you like part of your garden taken and people looking into your bedroom as the buses pass because of a raised track?
If is is so good a scheme why don't you campaign for it to be extended to Mickle Trafford? If you do I'm sure you will find yourself in the stocks in Station Lane with people throwing "Flora" margarine at you.
Ted Whitehouse, 76 Sefton Road Hoole, Chester

26/8/99 The CDTS opponents have no need or desire to mislead people. We just want to make sure electors hear both sides of the story and think about some of the arguments. Here are some examples:
Some elected members tell us that the CDTS is "necessary to safeguard the future of the economy of the city." Really? Are we expected to believe that the economic future of this beautiful city, to which blue chip companies continue to relocate, and to which millions of visitors flock each year, is dependent on a busway?
A reduction of 440,000 fewer cars sounds like a lot. But when you calculate (and you have to do it yourself because the council's document doesn't make it clear) that 400,000 is only a difference of 2-3 per cent, and if you read that the noise reduction from that will be "indiscernable", does it still sound like a lot?
Councillor Byrne tells us that an environmental gain is expected in some cases. This is an opinion. When you know that in his opinion "the green belt land at Mannings Lane is not particularly beautiful", and therefore not worth preserving, are you prepared to trust him with decisions about our environment?
The environmental statement tells us that the CDTS will improve the flora and fauna. This is another opinion. There are two points to question here. Can creating new ponds and planting a lot of trees in a car park make up for the loss of a natural wild place which could be enjoyed by walkers and cyclists? And to be pedantic, is it the CDTS which will improve the flora and fauna, or the planting?
Let's carry on asking questions.
(Ms) C M Green, 63 Brook Lane Chester

26/8/99 So Cllr Boughton, as Conservative highways spokesman, accuses anti CDTS supporters of spreading misinformation. I would like initially to draw attention to one particular point raised, although I'm sure many people noticed themselves. Assuming it isn't a misprint, Cllr Boughton states that anti-CDTS leaders make much of the alleged small reduction in traffic if stage I is completed. I'm not sure I understand what point he is making. Is he saying there will be a large reduction in traffic or is he saying that the 3% reduction usually quoted is a figure invented by the anti's?
I can't imagine it to be the former, therefore, assuming it is the latter, surely he must be aware that this is the figure quoted in the council's Environmental Impact Study (published after the Public Consultation). If Cllr Boughton isn't aware of what's what, then what hope for the rest of our councillors who seem to show far less interest in the promised land of the CDTS?
I noticed neither Cllrs Byrne nor Boughton were able to take up my challenge to publicly state that they are happy with a 3% reduction in traffic for all the millions to be spent, when the prime aim of CDTS is to reduce traffic. In Cllr. Boughton's case this now becomes self-explanatory: he doesn't seem to know who is saying what. I would therefore repeat my request to any councillor or CDTS supporter to publicly state that they consider a 3% reduction in traffic in Hoole to be a success. In all fairness, I do not expect any other councillors to make any sort of comment, as they all seem incapable of independent thought, being led by the nose by the vociferous outbursts of the two councillors Bs. It will be interesting to see if the two Bs respond.
Cllr Boughton also brags about 'complimentary measures' currently being drawn up and to be discussed by the members. Sod the public having chance to comment then! Could I ask why this is only now being done and why as members of the public we're expected to take part in a public consultation exercise without this information? (as with the Environmental Impact Study).
I'd like to finish without passing comment on Cllr Byrne's recent remarks about misleading people- d like to but I can't. The £7 million quoted by Cllr Byrne as the cost of phase I is the capital cost only. Could Cllr Byrne enlighten us to the TOTAL cost, including all ancillary costs and the interest on the loans that will have to be taken out to pay for the scheme?
Finally, when the scheme is being pushed as a great benefit for local residents, does he expect the residents of Hoole to be grateful for their one stop?
I'm afraid that with comments issuing from these two gentlemen about misrepresenting the facts, the words glass houses and stones comes to mind.
G. Hughes, 1 Westbourne Road Chester

26/8/99 I can confidently predict the following:
I) The masts at the Town Hall will be taken down.
2) Thc CDTS busway scheme will not go ahead.
3) The word "consultation" will be put back into the dictionaries of central government and local authorities.
All this, of course, after the visitation of the flying pigs.
Don Musto, Vicars Cross Chester

2/9/99 Thank you for printing my letter about the Chester Deeside Transport System in your edition of 5th August, 1999.
It would appear from the letter you carried last week, headed Half Truths from Cllr. John R Boughton, that at least one statement in my letter has been misinterpreted. Where I said: "Access for cyclists is unclear" I was referring to access onto the buses for cyclists with their bicycles.
Also, I only pointed out that the proposed cycleway did not adhere to the side of the proposed guided busway throughout its length because I was correcting a point made in a previous letter by another correspondent which implied that it would.
Regarding the matter of Tesco's ownership of the green belt land at Mannings Lane where the massive park and ride would be positioned. In an attempt to reassure people that there would never be a possibility of Tesco being able to develop this site, he says: "Tesco have been told in no uncertain terms that such a proposal is contrary to current planning policy and further will not be allowable under the proposed new Local Plan".
First of all, the new Local Plan has not been decided yet. It is important to note the words "proposed new" in Cllr. Boughton's letter. The Local Plan inquiry is due to take place later this year.
More to the point, what comfort could any realist take from a statement that a major retailer has been told that developing a certain site is contrary to planning policy? The fact is that once a greenfield area is lost and concreted over, the odds against it ever being resumed to green fields are a fraction of one per cent. The chances of it being subsequently developed in another manner are vastly greater.
Only recently the deputy chairman of the county council's environment committee, speaking in full council, admitted that there was a clear possibility of some of Chester's park and ride sites being developed.
Lillian Burns (Mrs), Vice Chairman, CPRE Cheshire Branch and Chairman, Cheshire Transport Campaign Group

2/9/99 In response to the letter from Ted Whiteside of Hoole, I wish to put the record straight. There is only one city councillor for the ward of Mickle Trafford who happens to be me. And if, as Mr Whitehouse stated, he was at the council meeting when CDTS was discussed and voted on, he would have been aware that I voted against CDTS. I was opposed to it then and I am opposed to it now.
So therefore I doubt he will find me in the stocks in Station Lane have Flora margarine thrown at me, he may well see me walking the lanes as l happen to live there.
Cllr Margaret P. Parker, 'Rosele', Station Lane Mickle Trafford

3/9/99 dear secetery of state for transport
i whant to change my suport for the scheme to an objection because i do not want a lot of big car parks at the start of park and ride. should ban cars. have buses taking people to the start of park and ride
Add to my other letter and change that to an objection. yours sincelly
this is the letter i am sending in

3/9/99 i have found an artical in tramways a urban transit september 1999 about the transit system writen by carlton roberts-james project manager cheshire county council.
It will help reduce the trafic in chester but why o why do we need a 1200 space car park at hoole. should have beter inproved bus link then pepole wont have to us there car and corse more polution on are roads. planners will say if you ban the car from parking at the proposed car park then park and ride dose not work.
If they say that then we have won a victory. But hold on dont they have a so called park and ride runing in chester no car park for that get rid of car park propossal for car park at hoole no one wants it. If you look at the pictur on page 334 / 335 it looks like ridges built into the ground and we can do with out that. It should be narow tracks like rail lines flush with the ground not ridges hope we dont get horibal tracks like this in chester town center. Hope it runs like a normal bus when it comes of the rails. also more screning of propertys along the rail line by trees or hedges.
Unles these changes are agreed to we can do with out the bus way even if it would help reduce trafic.
try web site www.lrta.org this is the web site for light rail transit association
david abbot mersy met motoway stop

9/9/99 In answer to Cllr Byrne's point of view of the 26th August 1999.
You say "there ain't going to be any commercial development on this site." What bothers me is the wording, you don't say there will not be any development at Mannings Lane now or in the future.
As Ms C. M. Green points out, you have said "The green belt land at Mannings Lane is not particularly beautiful" and therefore not worth preserving. Is this not one of the excuses given when it comes to making planning decisions and will be something a developer's solicitor will argue for development.
Can you and Cllr Boughton obtain the letter from Tesco, as stated on 19th August stating that no development will be on the Mannings Lane site now or in the future? Mr Gilespie suggests the council compulsory purchase the land. it would be interesting to hear Tesco's views on this.
We have to protect our green spaces in Hoole, Newton and Blacon- which have been gobbled up at an alarming rate- for the future, and try to stop this needless destruction. Is anyone on this steering committee from Hoole, Newton or Blacon, or is it only outsiders, ie Mickle Trafford and Hough Green?
Could Cllrs Byrne and Boughton ask the director of Sustrans to let the people of Chester know whether or not when they bought the line, he would have preferred to have had a cycle/ walkway only on the trackbed, for the whole of the line? As Mr Whitehouse points out, it's alright for Cllr Boughton and Mr Gilespie who live in Mickle Trafford, and who are getting the cycle/walkway without the busway.
Cllr Boughton called people against the busway Luddites, when he is not having heavy machinery on his part of the line. The very people who need the green space will have heavy machinery along with their cycle/walkway. I do not think this is a fair way of doing things and I hope many others will agree.
Chester Reader

9/9/99 When a national transport expert like Professor Lewis Lesley backs the call for CDTS to be built as a tramway, the council should think again about pushing on with the busway option.
Professor Lewis pointed to the success of Manchester's Metrolink and other European tramways in getting people out of their cars. In contrast, he reminded us of Cheshire's existing busway- at Runcorn - on which passenger numbers have declined ever since lt was built. So why on earth are councillors set on building another busway in the county when they need only go 10 miles to see the earlier failure?
Supertrams like Metrolink are far superior to buses, with a proven ability to attract motorists out of their cars, low vehicle floors and level boarding, low noise and zero air pollution. These latter advantages would meet the concerns of many residents along the route.
CDTS busway construction costs have more than doubled since the busway idea was first put forward in the early 1990s, whereas the cost of a supertram system has fallen due to technological advances.
Absurdly, Chester is currently set to not only be lumbered with an inferior busway system, but one which may cost more than the light rail/tram alternative!
Yet it is not too late for a rethink, even though the scheme has gone to the Minister for approval. If the tramway option were adopted, only the scheme details would need amending. Fewer trees felled, for instance, because a tram track needs less width than a concrete busway. How about it councillors?
Green Transport Campaigner

9/9/99 I look forward to receiving your excellent paper every Thursday, and to reading your 'Points of View', especially those concerning the CDTS Chester and Deeside Transport System. What a grand title! But something puzzles me. Where does "Deeside'' come into this?
A glance at any one inch to the mile Ordanace Survey map will show that, apart from the small population in Garden City, all the inhabitants of Deeside live south of the river, in places like Sandycroft, Mancot, Hawarden, Queensferry, Upper and Lower Shotton, Wepre, Red Hall and Golftyn, Connah's Quay. Are these inhabitants expected to cross the river to enjoy a bus ride from some location on the marshes? Or will the CDTS deliver them almost to their doorsteps, as Arriva buses try to do?
Would not "Mickle Trafford and Saughall via Blacon Traffic System" be more appropriate as a title? And less likely to mislead?
E J Lewis, 5 Wellington Road Broughton, Nr Chester

9/9/99 I am not surprised Cllr Byrne can't understand why people write under other names. Arrogant peope never can understand. Some people do not shout, don't write letters, would not normally dream of writing to the paper and certainly not emblazon their names in the press if they can help it. I can understand and don't blame them, however frightened they may be about the consequences of the planned CDTS if they have been on the receiving end of the arrogance of some councillors. Or if they saw the way the councillors who were brave enough to represent their ward on this issue (yes, really, they represented their ward) but were treated disgracefully at the full council meeting on the CDTS. Some people are not used to that kind of thing, if it was their first experience of a council meeting, it would have sent them reeling.
Cllr Byrne, I wonder how brave you would have been at the public meeting called for those concerned about the CDTS? As an ordinary person, would you have stood on the floor and uttered the words "If CDTS hits house prices I'll pay the difference" and still stood there when you uttered "Only joking"? Granted people were only jeering, but you were safe on the stage and were arrogant enough to joke from up there.
I for once, agree with part of your letter "There is absolutely no question of the guided busway..." I agree there is no question- it won't happen, readers will see to that. They have written in their hundreds and are still writing. Their letter won't be numbered but they will be read and noted.
If you were on holiday and missed the post you can still make your opinion known on this most important issue. Many people from the rural areas are ringing us. Could we through the Standard assure them that they too have the right to be heard. We know they are unhappy about their buses being withdrawn and should have their say about the millions planners feel they can spend on a two-lane concrete busway provided for car-users, but lack the money to provide a bus service for those without cars in rural areas.
Most readers understand why ordinary people write anonymously, if they feel the need. In fact it is very interesting, especially the title they use (including "Green Campaigner's" little rendering. You must remember that one Cllr Byrne- right up your street?). I hope a great many more people find the courage to write if they have something important enough to say, under any name.
Or are you trying to stifle even this form of objection now Cllr Byrne?
Audrey Hodgkinson, on behalf of the Anti-CDTS Campaign Groups

10/9/99 Council officials are pushing ahead with the CDTS busway so it could at a future date be converted into a road to carry car traffic, according to the national magazine Urban Transit.
The journal says that officials feared a conventional bypass would be rejected by the public. The magazine clearly has access to inside information being kept from local people.
This possibility could be blocked by Cestrians insisting that CDTS- if it goes ahead at all- is built as a supertram line like Manchester's Metrolink.
~ A supertram light rail system would have many other advantages- silent and fume free, being electrically powered; level and low-floor throughout the vehicles so fully accessible to the disabled, elderly and parents with prams; more harmonious with the adjoining walkway/cycleway, wildlife and nearby homes. And it's common sense that reinstating rails along the old railway would cost less than building a concrete bus road.
Around the world, towns and cities are building new light rail/tram routes, such as Essen in Germany. Perhaps we now know why council officials in Chester are pushing the busway idea against all reason!
The closing date for objections to CDTS has now passed. But anyone who has lodged one could send a supplementary letter stating (without prejudice to their opposition in principle) that if CDTS is built, it should be a tram/light rail system.
That way, Chester would get a much better public transport system and residents along the route could prevent a bus road or worse behind their homes.
Stanley Roberts, Ring Road, Great Boughton Chester

10/9/99 Copy of a letter sent to John Prescott, Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions.
The geography of Chester has to be taken into account before any other consideration. The city of Chester stands about 200 feet above sea level. It is skirted by the curl of the River Dee, the Shropshire Union Canal and the railway system, making it virtually a tiny island accessible only by a road bridge from every direction. Chester, historically, has been a city served largely by railways, opening it up to the whole of the country. It was the Beeching cuts that constricted that mode of access to what has been listed as one of the top places for retail sales in the country. This restriction has forced workers and shoppers to seek alternative means of transport. The result has been floods of incoming cars, looking to find somewhere to stop to allow the occupants to complete their business. Because the captive rural trading area of Chester is so large, buses have not been a viable option, and it has not been viable to recover the cost of a covering bus service.
Unlike many places, the geography of the city will not allow a sprawl to expand commercially, to enable the annually increased costs of running shopping businesses to be held steady.
Moreover, the space that is needed to be taken for adequate car parks is too excessive and valuable; space is at a premium in Chester. Also, the law of supply and demand has the effect of increasing car parking charges- another deterrent to shoppers.
The grossly obvious alternative to buses is to reuse the railways for the following reasons:
1. The wayleaves for the tracks are already there, although not now used.
2. The staffing costs of running a railway train are only a tenth of that needed for an equivalent bus service.
3. The potential for passenger carrying is greater, hence the pollution factor is considerably reduced.
4. The emission from the vastly increased number of buses needed to supply all the needs of the public would be incredibly high.
5. The capture area for the proposed busway is only tiny compared to the potential of the existing railways.
6. Finaly, to complete Chester's transport problems for all time, an underground extension from the Northgate rail track, terminating in the heart of the pedestrianised city area, would remove the need for hundreds of thousands of road vehicles, every year, and release space for improved public amenities.
The prospect of using one road wholly for the purpose of the use of bus access to the city, and what that means in terms of the disfigurement of the historic appearance, and the sterilisation of the shops on the route, is unthinkable.
There is only one complete transport solution for Chester, and that is an underground rail tunnel running the 600 metres from Eastgate Street to the rail cutting at the Northgate Roundabout- thus striking out the need for road transport.
James T Indermaur, Shaftesbury Avenue, Vicars Cross Chester

10/9/99 Cllr Peter Byrne has made a strong attack on the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), with accusations of misrepresentation of the facts about the Chester-Deeside Transport System (CDTS) linked to development opportunities.
Clear evidence can be found in the emerging Chester Local Plan that the development of greenfield sites in the Sealand Basin is directly linked to developers' contributions to the cost of constructing the Chester Western Relief Road which includes CDTS Phase III.
It was not long ago, in the last Chester Local Plan, that councillors were keen to release land from the Chester Green Belt for development.
The land at Mannings Lane was one of the sites they chose. CPRE and others had to rely on the decisions of the Inquiry Inspector and the Secretary of State to return the Mannings Lane site to the Green Belt.
The council's own environmental statement promoting CDTS Phase I predicts that the Mannings Lane Park &Ride site will be dramatically changed in character by the CDTS proposals.
Threats to Chester's green fields by transport plans will continue to be of great concern to CPRE.
Anne Jones, CPRE Planning Co-ordinator, Chester

16/9/99 Two transport items caught my eye in last week's news. With typical effrontery Cllr Lloyd-Griffiths claimed that he has always been in favour of a Public Inquiry about the CDTS. Why then did it fall to me to move the amendment at the county council calling on the Secretary of State to hold such an inquiry and for the council to enter into more consultation with local residents about the details of the scheme? I can assure you the original recommendations to the county council did not include these proposals.
Then we had Cllr Robinson making extravagant claims about the benefits of the new Wrexham Road bus lane. This scheme is likely to go down as Robinson's Folly.At a cost of £1.2 million we have a bus lane which does not start till after the roundabout into the Business Park. On your park and ride bus into town you will have to queue like everyone else to get past that bottleneck. You will then speed along to the Overleigh Roundabout gaining two or three minutes perhaps and then join the line for entry into the city proper. On the way home you have no help at all as the bus lane is one-way! As a motorist coming home in the evening you will be puzzled that you have to respect a bus lane where there are no buses! This is a 24-hour scheme even though the park and ride service only operates during the day. What a waste of public money. We could have provided a useful new cycle way on this route for a fraction of the cost but you cannot talk sense to these transport nerds.
County Cllr. Neil Fitton, 15 The Beeches Upton, Chester 16/9/99 How pleased I am that there is now to be a public Inquiry into the short-sighted CDTS scheme. The council will not now have the opportunity to force the scheme through against the will of the people and without all of the issues being publicly debated.
Car pollution will be an even greater problem in the next millenniun and therefore it is so sad that city planners cannot come up with a more imaginative than another park and ride. What about building a tram line from the railway station to the centre of town so that visitors are encouraged to travel to the city by rail? Perhaps Chester suffers from too many cars in and around the city because it encourages people to use them.
I encourage all protestors to keep up their good work and issue a challenge to the planners to think of a scheme that would reflect out transport aspirations for the next millennium.
Sue Thompson, 29 Shavington Avenue, Hoole Chester

23/9/99 If ever proof was needed that the council is having second thoughts on whether the CDTS will be a success was highlighted by the Evening Leader, 13th September 1999. It reported on a meeting to discuss proposals to enforce a series of stringent measures to reduce the amount of traffic using Hoole Road and encourage diversions to other roads into the City.
Over the past few weeks, people living on these alternative routes have complained about the dangers of increased traffic, obviously to no avail.
The key words here are "into the city''. Perhaps I didn't hear right when numerous councillors have been saying we must reduce al any cost the traffic going into the "city" to protect the connnercial viability, but now by all accounts not if you use an alternative route.
According to Cllr Byrne and his fellow councillors, the CDTS should be the answer to Hoole Road's problems. Apparently not so: They now want to force people to use other routes by deliberately creating traffic build up and queues.
How about the increasing commercial traffilc servicing the city shops? The council encouraged the supermarkets and the DIY stores into the city and now want to restrict access.
The fact the councillor didn't answer my question on whether the council had issued or proposed to issue compulsory purchase orders against householders living adjacent to the track to take part of their gardens or access to their properties suggests to me that they have or propose to do so.
The only reason why I asked was in an exchange of letters and conversation some 18 months ago, I was assured under no circumstances would anyone's land be affected in the construction of this busway now and in future proposals. The councillor was not Mr Byrne but one of the present councillors. So Mr Byrne, who is misinforming people now?
Ted Whitehouse, 75 Sefton Road, Hoole Chester

23/9/99 The Council's policy of destroying the historic City of Chester continues. The Old Electric Light Building is once again in danger of being demolished against the overwhelming wishes of the Iocal people. The usual excuses am being trumpeted- the building cannot be usefully occupied and the sewer would need extensive work carrying out. Both have been proved to be false. A new planning application will have to be put in by the developer to build houses upon the site. Chester does need new houses, cheap and affordable for local people, not the luxury housing that the council has encouraged. If a little extra money was spent then the Electric Light Building could be utilised, but the council nor the developer are interested in the preservation and enhancement of the city. Greed rules.
Chester City Council have just granted permission for another offtce block to be built on the Chester Business Park, which I and many others find incomprehensible. Only the other month Andy Farrell, chief planning officer, stated that the business park was causing economic hardship due to the traffic congestion being caused by this development. So the council grants permission for this building with no car parking restrictions. 700 people could possibly be employed- the added traffic chaos can clearly be forseen.
The council have no real policy on reducing car congestion as the CDTS project shows, this being an excuse to open up the green belt for further development, including such areas as the M53 corridor and the Sealand Basin. This has been admitted by city and county councils, thus giving the 'nod and wink brigade' a clear unhindered time. The only real policy the councils have is misleading the local people as demonstrated time and again. I and others have witnessed the likes of the people in the Sealand Basin being misled on such issues as the now extinct Green Park. The council's so called public consultation came down to lecturing people on what tbey could or couldn't have! The developers- the pariahs of Chester- have almost completely had their own way. Reganding the Green Park issue, Cheshire Prservation Group have been contacted by local residents voicing their concerns relating to children now having to play in the streets whereas previously they played in the safety of the Green Park. This situation was foretold by the local people but the council completely dismissed the issue. It has become increasingly evident that the councils and their officials have scant regard for local people's welfare.
People have also been seriously misled on the CDTS project, council officers giving untrue statements such as "Phase III Westerly Relief Road will not impact upon green belt land".
Clearly it will, unless the council gives way to the likes of Tesco who have lodged an official representation for the green belt to be moved back. The chairman of the CDTS steering group has reently stated tht development in the Sealand Basin is not dependant upon Phases 2 and 3 of CDTS. As CDTS is part of the local plan, then such developments are to some extent dependent upon this project. Contact between the councils and developers regarding funding of Phase 3 has already taken place, as reported in the local press.
In a council meeting Cllr. John Price stood up and said we are not just talking about phase I but also phases 2 and 3- which will enable people to seek employment in Deeside. Having been in contact with Flintshire County Council, they have stated that they have no funds for CDTS, and in fact have alternative plans in place. Cllr. Price has also stated that the scheme will solve many of Chester's traffic problems, yet he welcomes the expansion of the Chester Business Park with no car parking restrictions. This just about sums up the council's attitude and policies.
Many local people are comparing Chester to a South American banana republic. An exaggeration maybe, but as you get more involved in local issues the less the exaggeration becomes.
Paul Hobbs, Cheshire Preservation Group

30.9.99 We took our grandchildren to the museum the other day we all enjoyed the visit very much. The staff are to be congratulated, they are so helpful and friendly which all added to the pleasure. I should have taken the opportunity of asking them these questions but with grandchildren to keep an eye on felt it could wait a little longer and the answer be shared by interested readers.
Could we have some more information about the remains found on the planned site of the park & ride at Mannings Lane? Cllr Cousin said it was a Roman Military training ground. Has anything been done to dig the site yet? Has money been allocated to do this work? Where does the money come from for this work? Surely some plans must be in progress to find out exactly what is there. Could Cllr Cousins or another councillor please let us know? Has someone in authority forgotten this find or has it got lost on the computer. I am getting very worried after all we are an historical city? Isn't it getting urgent now? Please inform us all what has happened.
A Puzzled Gran

Reply to above: 7.10.99 I am pleased to reassure your correspondent 'Puzzled Gran' , along with other readers, that the archaeology has not been forgotten at the proposed park and ride site.
All such proposals are preceded by a full archaeological study before planning permission is granted. This allows any remains to be assessed, and plans drawn up for their preservation or excavation. Responsibility for paying for such work lies squarely with developers, as part of their development costs.
At Mannings Lane, the first phase of an archaeological study has already been carried out by professional archaeologists, which has included site inspection and detailed checks on historical records. Although there is no certain evidence of a Roman camp, the frequency of similar camps in the surrounding area means that particular attention will be paid to this possibility. The next phase will involve more detailed investigation of likely areas of interest, through fieldwalking, geophysical survey and, if necessary, trail trenching.
Once we have a clearer picture of whether any archaeological remains exist, a strategy to excavate or preserve them will be drawn up.
Archaeologists from the City and County Councils have been working closely together, and will continue to do so, to ensure that any evidence of Chester's heritage is preserved or fully recorded, both before and during any development of the site.
Cllr L Price Chair, Heritage & Environment Board.

28.10.99 Having seen Cllr Peter Byrne's communiqué in the press 15.10 I feel it is important to put the record straight. Firstly Cllr Byrne raised the issue of people conducting local affairs through the local press, myself, a members of my organisation and many others have written constantly to the local council for information on various local issues. The council have yet to reply, some -people have written 3 or 4 letters on the same issue and made numerous telephone calls. Therefore the local electorate are left with very little option but to write to the local press.
Secondly Cllr Byrne once again brings up the issue of CDTS - he states that the final environmental statement (ES) was available throughout the six-week objection period. This is untrue. Myself and others tried to view this document in the first few weeks of the consultation period, but it was not available. When it was available it was the draft ES not the final ES.
As for Cllr Byrne's remarks about the council dealing with objections on a one to one basis, I and many others I know have been trying to do this with no success, as the council have failed to respond.
An example of local councillors' attitude to the electorate, as witnessed by a number of people, was when a local councillor was asked certain things regarding the CDTS project and walked away stating 'you're going to get the CDTS scheme whether you like it or not'
People have witnessed local officials telling blatant untruths regarding CDTS. When the council's legal dept., was consulted over this they insinuated the complainers had gone deaf. This and other misleading statements via council officers including councillors remain unresolved. Sadly it looks like these matters will have to be addressed further through legal channels.
Finally I would like to point out that Cllr Byrne is in favour of all three phases of CDTS including the Westerly Relief Road. I feel it is only fair to point out to people resident around the canal basin (Cllr Byrne's ward) and around the Hough Green area where Cllr Byrne lives that he supports the building of a major road that will greatly affect both these areas, and as such people should indeed contact Cllr Byrne regarding this scheme. It is rather the pot calling the kettle black when Cllr Byrne attacks certain people for continually writing in the press, when he himself is an habitual contributor on behalf of the council.
Tony Brandon - on behalf of the Cheshire Preservation Group.
Wide of the mark? 3.2.00 Standard
It has become very clear recently as the cycle/walkway is constructed along the Mickle Trafford- Shotton disused railway line that the width needed for a double concrete busway alongside would force the cycle/walkway into the margins of the railway corridor, destroying the remaining tree and green spaces.
CPRE is presenting a strong case at the forthcoming public inquiry against the construction of the CDTS Phase 1 (Chester Guided busway) which relies on the building of a massive new park & ride on a prime greenfield site in the green belt, contrary to national green belt policy.
The public inquiry is at the Moat House Hotel and is expected to last about three weeks. CPRE Cheshire branch and CPRE Chester District have been programmed to appear on 22nd and 23rd Feb.
The Secretary of State has called this inquiry because of strong opposition to CDTS. We urge all concerned to attend the inquiry. For further information phone Chester 390314.
Ann Jones, Planning co-ordinator Chester CPRE.

4.11.99 I read with interest an article on the front page of The Standard 21st Oct concerning a 'council cash crisis' and the resulting axing of 30 bus services in the Chester area. Surely this is an issue that could be solved if the much needed funds for these services was provided from what appears to be a 'very big pot' to persuade those same tax- payers to accept the CDTS scheme.
Anti-CDTS Chester residents have consistently appealed to our councillors to direct funds into services that we are all able to benefit from and not into a scheme that will only be a benefit to shoppers and tourists to the city.
This would seem to be by far the best way to use local public money, that is, on providing local public services.
So if our councillors, who have been elected by us all, are really there to support us, they should now be looking at their transportation plans. Starting to concentrate on the needs and wants of all their constituents and not on a widely unpopular and expensive Park & Ride for visitors. Visitors who have their own transport, the people in the areas served by the axed bus services may well not have and rely on buses to get around.
B.Harris, Elmwood Ave Hoole

27.1.00 While it is true, as Cllr Bob Rudd states (Standard 13th Jan), that the arguments for and against the CDTS will be heard before an independent inspector at the public inquiry we must all be clear that this process is by no means a level playing field! The objectors will have to take time off work to present their case, their preparation will have been limited to spare time they have available and they will also have to find the fund themselves.
The councils on the other hand will have utilised whole departments and vast budgets in order to prepare their case. They will have selected the right expert witnesses and employed the best barristers in an effort to discredit the objectors and their views.
What is most surprising in all this charade is that despite the best efforts of both councils and their PR machines that they still cannot persuade the vast majority of Chester residents that this scheme is in their best interests! Is this because council thinking generally lags about 3 to 5 years behind that of informed public opinion? I believe this to be the case and hopefully so will the inspector.
Graeme Lyall. Oaklea Ave., Hoole

3.2.00 After studying the documents and plans regarding CDTS I am left with the impression the officials involved are on an ego trip and have been desperate to push this proposal on residents in any way possible. In my opinion Cheshire County Council have not only shot themselves in the foot but their head also. In document A/P1 Figures and Appendices - Proof of Evidence - the last page clearly shows a cycle route but does not mention a cycleway in consultation documents. It shows the route coming down Kingsway and up the small lane to Fairfield Road and on to Newton sports field. In other words it has not only been pushed of the track to the embankment but onto a road now. It then proceeds down to Liverpool Road and does not go through Northgate Village. This is news to a great many people. Trying to follow plans that have changes so often it is not surprising some residents are getting very confused. Why haven't we been informed through the press at least, of these changes? If this is incorrect data how and why has the project manager Carlton Roberts-James issued it?
Perhaps the official objectors have been given all the change information previously, or is the county council allowed to alter things right up to and into the public inquiry as they are so worried? I have only just managed to go through a few documents, with little knowledge of these procedures it amazes me such anomalies, turnabouts and puzzling contradictions can take place on official documents. I could expect it from the opposition at the goal posts have been changed so often by the council.
This query is only one of a good few more I spotted but space is limited.
A local taxpayer

17.2. 00 The Anti-CDTS Campaign Groups had a good week at the Public Inquiry
Don Wignall, a charted transport planner and town planner, has over 20 years experience of wide variety of transportation work, including urban transport assessment, pointed out at £11m CDTS phase 1 represents a very costly way of providing a four-bus and 2-6km transit operation. He requested the application be turned down with recommendation that any future proposals be more attuned to sustainable issues, the interests of the residents along the corridor and needs of all public transport users and operators should be considered. Justification for the Park & Ride has not been established and represents an over-provision of car parking expansion in the Greenbelt on a predict and provide basis which would actually facilitate traffic growth and would abstract further from public transport users.
Dr.J. Cleary travelled from Nottingham by rail with her cycle - as she had previously done in order to see for herself the inadequate cycle/walking facilities in Chester district. As a cycling/walking expert she gave evidence why the Sustrans Linear Park route should stay a motor free route and suggested many improvements for a better environment in Chester district. Undaunted by Cheshire County Council's Q.C she said to him at one stage "That was a very flippant remark to make if you don't mind me saying so".
Ann Chapman gave the Anti-CDTS main Proof of Evidence; she also acted as advocate and pulled the whole case together very competently.
On behalf of all our members, we thank each of them for their unstinting assistance. We have been exceedingly lucky in our choice of experts as each one of them reduced their fees. They felt so strongly a two-lane concrete busway down a tranquil route currently being constructed and a using greenbelt land for a huge Park & Ride site at Mannings Lane was not in the interests of Chester City or County.
All have agreed that a better solution would be to provide state of the art buses (environmentally friendly) for all bus users (with low- level wheelchair and pushchair access) on existing roads, with cheaper fares. This would be a cheaper and better solution to congestion and pollution not just the 2-3% reduction down Hoole Road but throughout all Cheshire. Providing decent facilities, where possible on traffic free route, to encourage healthy walking and cycling was also essential.
Accolades galore! The CDTS project manager said we were a well-organised and efficient group, he took his hat of to us. For more information access Steve Howe's website. You may remember I have recommended Steve's website to readers many times previously as being a fair and accurate coverage of Chester and things happening/planned there-in. www.bwpics.co.uk/chester.html busletters.htm/railway.html His email address is knowhowe@enterprise.net
We thank Chester Standard for their fair coverage and excellent letters pages. We have raised over £8,500 so far and still need more, please send your donations and membership form to our chairman, Graham Bromley, 30 Knowlsey Road, Chester CH2 3RL.
We are a recognised, fully constituted association - all donations are banked and used solely for expert witness fees and documents required. The committee members pay all other expenses.
Audrey Hodgkinson (secretary) Anti-CDTS Campaign Groups.

3.3.00 As a neutral observer I recently attended the Public Inquiry on the proposed bus route (CDTS). In this newspaper, Audrey Hodgkinson recently paid tribute to the Anti-CDTS group's excellent speakers. One speaker said during the inquiry that Cheshire County Council's QC made flippant remarks. This is an understatement.
I was horrified to watch the council's barrister berate, intimidate and at times try to humiliate the objectors. He twisted their every word, almost treating them like criminals in the dock. Did he forget that this was a Public Inquiry where ordinary people were objecting to what they saw as a scheme which would destroy the environment and is going to be there for big business to make even bigger profits and not for the ordinary people who live in Chester?
What sort of democratic system allows this to happen? What an irony that the objectors not only raised their own funds to present their case, whilst at the same time the council uses our poll tax to pay a barrister to annihilate anyone who opposes their scheme.
I went as a neutral observer and left feeling support for the objectors because they ably presented a well-argued case on an unfair playing field - the man in the street versus the clever-talking barrister -residents' protest against money talking. It became clear to me that the council's motive in creating this busway is not to reduce congestion in Chester. It is to further increase the profits of the high street giants - money talks.
S.Davies. Saughall Road, Chester

16.3.00 Last week's letter "Big money talks" echoed many people's thoughts. We knew what we were in for and had warned members what a QC would try to do (it is what they are hired for). Fortunately our experts knew their subject and we were all on solid ground. The CDTS would not meet its objectives to reduce congestion, improve the environment or maintain local economy.
Ann Chapman, one of our experts who was also advocate, after a great deal of insistence, made the council finally admit that the journey time saving on Hoole Road would be 6 seconds for someone travelling by car at peak times. They admitted the minimum width of a cycle/walkway should now be 3.8m. The one being built now is planned squeezed by the side of a two lane concrete busway thus ruining a wildlife tranquil area to walk/cycle, which is rare in Chester these days. They also admitted that the scheme would not bring about any significant reduction in noise or pollution. On the contrary, they had to concede that CDTS is likely to increase the miles travelled by private cars in Cheshire.
The council still refuses to realise that placing so much reliance on park & ride is not a sustainable answer to traffic problems. The proposed new site in Hoole was expected to be full by Dec. 2007. What would happen then? Use more and more greenbelt for car parks? We have always argued the money would be better spent improving public transport on existing roads. Has anyone in the council ever looked inside the bus station in Delamere Street, the most uninviting place I have ever seen apart from the infamous Chester subways walkers are forced to tackle daily?
Campaigners believe that now the councillors can be made aware of the woefully small 'benefits' of the scheme, they will not vote it through the Local Transport Plan process, preferring instead the Alderly Edge bypass, which Cheshire residents need and want. Readers can help us by writing or ringing their councillors.
Audrey Hodgkinson (sec) Anti-CDTS Campaign Groups

Editorial Commentary: 15th December 2000: The front page story in the Chester Chronicle this week, loosely based upon a Cheshire County Council press release, would apparently have us believe that Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has given the go-ahead for the construction of the hugely-unpopular CDTS 'guided busway' on the disused Mickle Trafford-Deeside railway- and, moreover, that the government have agreed to fund the construction of Phase I running from Hoole into the city centre!
This is extremely strange considering that that the TWA Office in London has confirmed that no decision has yet been taken by the planning inspector following the Public Inquiry in February, that legal processes are not complete and that the raising of the required 50% third-part funding is by no means certain. All facts curiously omitted from the Chronicle's report- but included in a far more accurate report in the Chester Evening Leader.
The government have said that, should planning permission eventually be granted for CDTS, they will make available funding- whether as grants, loans or both is unclear at present- for just half the cost of Phase I.
The former publication did, however, take the trouble to describe the alleged decision as "an early Christmas present for Chester" and devoted ample space to the views of councillors and other busway supporters, including Chester's current Member of Parliament, Christine Russell- but none at all to objectors to the scheme.
"The funding will provide a host of local schemes to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists. New traffic calming schemes will provide a safer environment for walking and cycling" enthused Ms Russell.
Safer than the totally car and bus-free cycleway that already exists?
Large numbers of local people have fought for years to prevent the construction of CDTS and they have now been joined by hundreds of commuters and families who have become regular users of the route since the opening the splendid SUSTRANS cycleway there. Read some of their views here.
When, immediately before Christmas, 'news' stories of this calibre appear making spurious 'green' claims for the Busway and attempting to dismiss objectors as merely a minority of "cyclists and those living near the line", is this then our council's concept of "partnership in practise" or merely a cynical attempt to pre-empt and influence the legal planning process, duly snapped up and swallowed whole by an ever-compliant local press?

Letters opposed to the Busway 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 and Letters in favour of the Busway
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