At a recent meeting of Full Council at the Town Hall, I asked the Tory Cabinet Member for Growth, Planning, Housing, and Economic Development, Cllr Peter Hiller (the chap who signed off on the unpopular Rhubarb Bridge decision), if he could let me know “..when residents living in and around Chiltern Rise, in Gunthorpe, can look forward to the introduction of dropped kerbs at the T-Junctions with both, Pennine Way and Cheviot Avenue?”
“Whether it is technically and financially feasible to reassign the proportion of the overall budget allocated to demolish the footbridges to instead make significant repairs to the bridge at Junction 18 (Rhubarb Bridge)”
You may remember, the Tories at the Town Hall received something of a backlash, after they announced plans to spend up to £30,000,000 on removing the bridge, and even signed an agreement with Skanska, before seeing what local residents thought?
Some interesting points from the latest report (page 377) include:
Approximately 60,000 vehicles use the junction daily, 1,260 pedestrians and 540 cyclists.
The Council still claim that not “carrying out an improvement scheme would lead to a significant increase in congestion at this junction associated with the growth of the city and increasing revenue repair costs for the existing network of bridges given their physical condition.”
Membership of the group will consist of one elected Member from each of the political groups to ensure cross party representation.
It’s expected the group will hold around three meetings. With the first one to be held before the end of the year.
My big worry, is that given the huge amount of money involved, there’ll certainly be one or two peeps who want to get their hands on it! And will be devilishly determined to go ahead with the original concept.
Therefore, I personally do hope is that this working group also includes one or two local residents, like those who led on the petition, a rep form the local cycling forum and Sustrans the cycling charity. This has yet to be confirmed.
What do YOU think the Council should do? Please let me know below!
The Conservatives have been “running” the City Council since the year 2000, and as someone who has been a councillor since 2004, I can assure you I’ve never seen them in such a mess!
It seems quite clear to me, given that there is no more silverware in the cupboard for them to sell, that they’ve agreed annual rises in Council Tax over the next 5 years, the back tracking on bulky waste collections, senior officers moving to jobs outside the authority etc!
And let’s not forget the recent events, like:
Tory Mayor drops resignation bombshell – After a year in the role as mayor, Tory councillor, David Sanders, announced at a meeting of Full Council (without informing his leader or other senior Tory councillors) that he’d be resigning his position as a elected member after 20 years in the role. Some suggest this was solely down to his view of how things are being run by his party colleagues at the Town Hall?
Chief Finance Officer jumps ship – John Harrison, who received £184,572 last year including pension contributions, suddenly left the authority, without even a good-bye email? I myself was very surprised, as I thought he was pretty much entrenched at the Council and especially after I was told at a meeting (which he also attended) that he’d be the one leading the renegotiation of the Council’s contract with Amey?
Nearly half a billion in debt – This year I discovered from holding the Tories at the Town Hall to account during a formal meeting, that they are presently in debt to the tune of £395,400,000 and repayment of individual loans ranges from 2 months to 49 years. The total interest payment over the life of the outstanding debt is presently £405,000,000……. nearly half a billion! To put it into perspective, if you get paid £16,000 a year, then its like you owing £38,400 …… on top of YOUR mortgage or rent etc Not very fiscally sound, eh?
Rhubarb Bridge fiasco – Hundreds of local residents were left dismayed after the Tories launched a “consultation” exercise regarding the future of the Rhubarb Bridge, however, on attending they discovered that there was only one option on the table, and that a multi million pound deal had already been signed!
Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts or opinions below!