I used to go swimming in my cousin’s indoor swimming pool near north west of Preston regularly until I lost my ESA on the 365 day rule and couldn’t afford the petrol anymore and I hadn’t been for ages but went on Monday 23rd June evening using the A59 to Copster Green then via Ribchester through Longridge to go straight across the lights at Broughton and avoid any traffic coming out of Preston on the A6. The first new thing I noticed was that the main road through Ribchester is now a 20 Zone no problem through Longridge but coming into Broughton I also noticed that the 30 Zone has now been moved back a mile towards Longridge despite the fact that the road is wide and straight and was no safety problem with the original 40 limit sufficient for anyone to safely get out of any junctions. Straight across and then I found that the 30 limit on the Woodplumpton road has been extended right back past the farm perhaps nearly half a mile again for no valid safety reason. ( Length limit on Ribchester bridge deliberate attempt to bust WJ Riding transport main traffic ICI Teesside via A59 ? )
I got talking to my cousin’s boyfriend about it and he said it didn’t make any difference since the new traffic lights and road layout on the A6 roundabout under the M55, and how since the morning rush hour traffic was queued back that far from Broughton lights anyway and the other direction traffic was now queued up back down the M6 as far as the Longridge exit most days. On the way back I on the edge of dark used the motorway and A59 and it was obvious that the new road layout is a potential death trap for cyclists as the new cycle lane starts before the new left turn lane and you have to cross it to get access to it. Its particularly dangerous for any HGV’s wanting to access the M6 when you have to rely on your nearside mirror to spot cyclists especially and when its raining and now the cycle lobby are now festering a law which automatically makes motor vehicle drivers responsible if they hit a cyclist. Perhaps its also been designed like that to allow cyclists to get to the front and then baulk the traffic when the lights turn green so not as many vehicles get through, and taking the possibilities further perhaps some corporate employers in Preston are giving financial incentives to employee’s to cycle to work in order to gain theoretical green brownie points to improve their corporate image or even things as simple as paying to install showers ?
I got baulked by a loaded 44 tonne loaded fuel tanker pulling out into the outside lane long before the summit in order to get in the lane for Blackburn with enough power to be doing 40 coming up the dual carriageway from the motorway which is safe at a most fuel efficient 60 yet the speed limit has now been cut to 50. At least for once I didn’t get stopped for no reason by the new traffic lights but as soon I branched off onto the A59 I noticed that the centre white lines were almost impossible to make out they were so worn and the cycle lanes were worn significantly as well proving that it was not due to the road being surface dressed. The fact that the cycle lanes force traffic into the centre of the road probably compounds the potential danger and perhaps its possible that under the cover of budget restraints LCC highways officers are deliberately attempting to engineer an accident in order to justify cutting the speed limit to 40 not content with the potential economic damage to the Ribble Valley economy already caused by cutting the limit to 50. Perhaps the same principle applies to the still 60 Longsight Road Dinkley junction cross roads where the cheap yet effective chevrons painted on the road ( like those now used coming into many 30 zones ) in additions to the signs have almost eliminated the once regular accidents there are in urgent need of renewing ?
The Traffic police must be implicated even though in my experience I found that most of the Preston based traffic police were incredibly stupid as illustrated by a driver I had known since I was a 13 year old kid telling me how one of them had run out into the slow lane of the M6 and stopped his wagon to ask if the old centre reservation matrix signs were working. Likewise one day in the late 80s when I was working for Chris Miller ( 5 pm start for an overnight parcels service franchise he had got ) going up Halfpenny Brow on the way to work when it was windy and one of the small roadside trees had blow down obstructing the road where its single file down the hill closed the entire road and caused mayhem for the evening rush hour when with a simple hand saw within five minutes they could have cleared the road easy to allow traffic even if the council needed to go later and sort it properly. Lancaster were not bad, one evening around the same time agency holiday cover working night shunt Heysham docks for Isle of Man specialists Edmondsons an artic had shed its load of glass bottles turning off the slip road onto the A683 they improvised and kept the traffic moving.
The police must know university inspired road safety theory is total bullshit with their obvious only aim being to sell expensive equipment and particularly electronics and if people wont buy it get the government to make a mandatory market, and perhaps they remain silent because like the former top South Wales traffic guy who was festering average speed cameras and toll roads they get the reward of a fat cat pay part time job with one of the big corporates when they have to retire after 30 years service. And there was once talk of significantly overweight and therefore unfit for police general duties officers being retired early with possible reduced pensions but it all went silent perhaps because the Police Federation threatened to spill the beans on the truth ?
The police must have known all along that the main road safety problem in the UK is drivers with defective eyesight are a major problem even more so with the increasing number of elderly drivers on the road but its younger drivers as well who have to keep driving to keep their job. I have written to LCC on this subject before and perhaps giving people the option of a speeding awareness course is a good thing because they give you a simple eye test at the start, but perhaps most of those who opt to pay the fine and take the points do so because they know there is a risk that defective eyesight will be discovered.
By the time I got to Copster Green it was just dark enough to put the lights on and I noted that the Keep Left bollards were so dirty that they were difficult to see even though I was only doing 30 due to the car in front thinking the limit was 30 and not risking getting caught by the fixed speed camera. On the way out my eyes are good enough to notice that there wasn’t a camera in it even if it was so overgrown by the hedge that its probably useless anyway, and the pedestrian islands are unsightly anyway due to grass growing in the accumulated dirt around the kerbs. Just to be Ironic I suspect if LCC officers see this they will twist it and use it to cut the speed limit to 30 just like they probably did with my new development Billington junction observations they probably used as justification to reduce the height limit under the rail bridge at Langho, in order to give Lancashire United the excuse they needed to close the old Ribble bus depot at Clitheroe because they couldn’t base the 13ft8 old but still serviceable school contract double deckers anymore ( and perhaps LCC had to pay more for newer buses like with the local village services ) and sell the site for executive housing development. When I was at said depot in 1991 one of the more competent drivers took a 14ft1 marked brand new double decker though dead slow towards Blackburn ?
I used to regularly attend Chatburn parish council as a member of the public and it came up that LCC proposed to extend the 30 limit back towards Clitheroe half a mile round Bellman Corner after the former chairman was moaning about speeding after an accident even though the limit had already been cut to 40 after alleged speeding accidents with a young inexperienced drivers. Despite the fact that the parish council had successfully lobbied for the road to be fully resurfaced to avoid the danger of the mend to the road after United Utilities put in a new sewerage pipe to close the old Chatburn sewage works which may not have met the latest discharge into the river standards the ex chairman who lived in one of the terrace of houses there would persist after an accident almost immediately after. Festered by former RVBC Lib-Dem borough councillor and much made about how the dry stone wall had been thrown into the field which I suspected anyway having covered the calculating speed from the distance a projectile maths at Accrington tech and realising that the equation was far too complicated to be accurate. Later my suspicions were confirmed when a tree growing immediately next to after heavy summer rain demolished the stone wall at the side of our house onto the railway and despite the fact that it was lime mortar a 15lb block of limestone was thrown 12ft and perhaps it would have gone further if it had not been stopped by hitting the house wall.
Despite the fact that I pointed out that the car had struck the wall some distance after the bend itself and the accident was probably due to the driver misjudging the corner thus got too close to the inside and lost it after grabbing a handful of lock in panic thus breaking Newton’s Laws of Motion in a desperate attempt to correct. I did suggest putting in double white centre lines which would have had the additional safety benefit of stopping people parking outside the terrace on the bend and narrowing the road with the possibility of an accident by someone passing a cyclist coming round the inside and especially a bus. However they would still persist and arranged for Martin Nugent to attend the next meeting he could to discuss the plans and he duly arrived only to appear to be annoyed by the fact I pointed out to him that the Bend warning signs and slow road surface markings towards Clitheroe were far too early, whilst the bend and slow sign coming into the inside of the bend from Clitheroe were too late. Just to rub it in I also pointed out that the bed end they had left just as you start turning into the bend coming from Clitheroe after the resurfacing was not helpful either, and after which he left ASAP with the promise to install speed recording speed strip to prove his case. During the very short time the speed strips were there an perhaps not by coincidence at a time when traffic was lighter than usual ( possibly school holidays but I can’t remember exact ) the highest speed recorded was 70 towards Clitheroe without incident and as I also pointed out to Nugent at the meeting about the service buses coming round the inside of the bend from Clitheroe were doing it at 50 safely. Even my now dead late 80s but still fit and active dad would go round the bend in his car towards Clitheroe at 50 despite only having one eye and although I used to be able to do it safe faster go round at 50 both ways if not baulked by a possibly blind Leg-Iron mindful of the G-force aggravating my back pain problem.
I had noticed that the estate agents were having difficulty selling two houses in the terrace on the outside of the bend and in a direct email to Tim Ashton then Tory highways and transport cabinet member I outlined the possibility that LCC officers were colluding with the estate agents to get the speed limit cut to 30 to make the houses more attractive to prospective buyers as they could park overnight without sidelights. I never received a reply but the limit is still 40 and all the parish council went quiet about it and in the same email I also suggested the same principle applied to the Grane Road weight limit key route Haslingden to the main industrial area at Blackburn saving fuel and time for hauliers with HGV’s delivering groupage one big main drop subsidising odds and ends to small business all over east Lancashire. The same principle applies to the reduced height limit under the rail bridge at Langho where industry standard articulated quick unloading tautliner trailer are now technically banned from using the direct route into the Ribble Valley from Blackburn when the obvious solution using modern technology would be to rig up a laser beam to light a big flashing sign to warn any vehicle too high well before the crucial lights at Whilpshire ?
Tim Ashton did actually reply about Grane Road brandishing accident statistics before and after but is was clear they did not demonstrate any significant reduction in accidents taking into account the recession despite spending a fortune on new warning chevrons on the bends. I later used the route one dark grey late winter’s night after attending a lecture by Ian Crane at a hotel on the old road near Birch services Heywood when coming home I was approached by two lads from Blackburn requesting a lift home as they had missed the last train connection. I used to know the road well but it was 20 years ago so I went carefully only to find that the new signage they had installed was worse than useless causing me to over react too early coming into the bends but at least the lads gave me all the lose change they had left for my trouble.
I also nailed Tim Aston in person at a Public meeting at the Civic Hall Clitheroe to question the wisdom of his cherished 20 Zone policy but also mentioned the congestion problem coming into Lancaster from Morecambe on the main route and how one solution to improve the situation would be to allow HGV’s to use the bus lane. I also pointed out that it would also significantly reduce pollution and sent him an email about it and other ideas LCC have known about for years and at one time I had a direct email contact to the secretary with the former Labour woman transport cabinet member. Perhaps my correspondence stopped LCC from installing a new roundabout for the new junction into BAE on the A59 when the Tory Ribble Valley guy ( who was theoretically fighting the Billington development new junction I mentioned ) had been festering a new roundabout for years. However, perhaps its obvious that they were attempting to engineer an accident in order to justify cutting the speed limit by allowing the potentially dangerous original main entrance especially with right turning traffic to gain access to remain open.
I also used to regularly visit friends at the west end of Morecambe regularly but like with the swimming since I lost my ESA I couldn’t afford the petrol anymore even though I have a relatively modern fuel efficient 1000cc small car so I only go occasionally now. I usually plan my journey to arrive around 3pm and outbound I use the Trough of Bowland route which I enjoy the challenge of driving it as well as the scenery. Turn left at the Quernmore cross roads then through to Caton turn left them first right to Halton straight across the roundabout over the M6 and cross roads to emerge on the A6 Slyne turn left then immediate right through to emerge on the coast road at Hest bank then right down the promenade. Even though some people could attempt to portray that its a long way round its still probably quicker and far less stressful than getting stuck in almost gridlocked traffic on the main route via Lancaster and in addition I occasionally drop in at the model railway shop on Pedder St on the way. However, the last time I went I discovered that all the roads I use from the A6 at Slyne through to Hest Bank are now in a massive 20 Zone and I though I was stuffed because there was a police car in front of me but he pulled over and stopped letting me past and didn’t follow.
I come back via using the old Heysham main road and past ASDA like most of the HGV traffic to avoid getting stopped for no good reason by the traffic lights on the official main route from Heysham after having a meal with my friends setting off when Coronation Street Starts to avoid traffic to the M6 but its not fool proof if you clash with ferry traffic. Perhaps the congestion is made worse by the lane markings on the roundabouts which are impossible for long artics to keep to and could precipitate a slow rollover incident especially the one onto the main road coming from ASDA which directs you onto an offside adverse camber. At Clitheroe Civic Hall I did suggest to Tim Ashton and the environment guy that congestion and pollution could be reduced by allowing HGV’s to use the bus lane into Lancaster but again it would appear that the officers have twisted my observations to extend the bus lane even further back to Morecambe and probably make the congestion worse.
The damage to the Morecambe economy over the past 20 years is obvious and especially in the once vibrant west end which perhaps to finish it off is now a massive 20 Zone also, and the rot probably set in when BR closed the original first class 3 long platform station where cheap summer special long trains from the big towns like Manchester and a freight diesel loco with no train heating could be used. All they have now is a two car DMU on a single track long siding with a bus shelter miles away from anywhere and original station site direct on the promenade developed as a tourist attraction. Even the model railway shop only opens 3 days a week now as its enough to cater for the regulars who stay loyal because it got the most competitive prices for the latest new loco’s etc in the north west if not the entire country but it will probably close when the owner retires soon anyway as there is no way anybody could make any money if borrowing from the banks.
At least the new M6 direct Lancaster avoiding road has had the plans passed now but its probably disabled by sets of traffic lights and roundabouts where there should have been bridges and perhaps it would have been built 20 years ago but for the Green Party being strong on Lancaster council due to its university community. Even the 1989 LCC switch to Transit’s from 13 tonners was theoretical green policy inspired like the cycle lanes and 20 Zones all by politicians appeasing the promoters of the now well proven fraud Co2 causes global warming theory. It must now be obvious to any honest intelligent people that all along the Green NGO’s have been working to increase the profits and share prices of the Big Oil companies ( they claim to be working against to get public donations ) by the fact that DECC is now proposing to invest in diesel generators to back up wind farms now proven useless at providing enough reliable power to meet our energy needs. Its recently been reported that Greenpeace lost 3 million gambling on Euro currency futures betting that it would significantly fall probably as a result of the EU blindly continuing to follow their climate change mitigation policy. However the value of the Euro went up as major EU players like Germany have now woken up to the fact that anyone who implements their green inspired policy is committing economic suicide probably due to the fact that German industry now has to use diesel generators if their operations need a constant secure energy supply. Germany is now building at least ten new big coal ( Brown lignite most Co2 emitting fossil fuel of all ) fired power stations ASAP in an attempt to stop its industry closing down. It was no surprise to me that its now been reported that the current war in Iraq is being funded by wealthy private individual stock market celebrity mostly but not exclusively Gulf State Arabs obviously to force up oil prices, plus the same principle probably also applies to Syria.
It must be reasonable to believe that all the corruption is festered by the banks in a desperate attempt to sustain their profits and the share prices of the big FTSE listed corporates they need to keep continually rising to borrow against to gamble in future contracts and all the other derivatives introduced since the Big Bang and electronic computerised share trading. It pretty easy as all they need is one mortgage holder in financial difficulties ( especially the ten bob fat property speculators as still festered by BBC1 morning programmes ) and needing to re-mortgage after a short term fixed rate deal expires. Perhaps bank managers are suggesting to desperate people that if they can get something which benefits the corporates passed by the local council and a cut in the speed limit especially from 40 to 30 on main routes being the obvious favourite to increase the theoretical value of their home. It may also be suggested to them to get the support of neighbours by passing it around that their house price could go up if they get a weight limit on their road for instance and soon lots of people are contacting their local politicians to support them or they will ensure they lose their seat and money for attending council meetings at the next election.
It would appear that everything was going to their plan in Chatburn the long standing Lib-Dem RVBC councillor standing for re-election on a plan to build a new roundabout at the junction of Ribble Lane with the main Clitheroe road and I believe that Martin Nugent had already completed the plans in the LCC drawing office and the project was ready to roll when as probably expected the Lib-Dem won. I could see right away that the obvious target was to close the village Post Office which is the only remaining shop selling general groceries and newspapers and informed the prospective Tory candidate who ran an engineering business and could see my point unlike the former Calderstones mental health nurse Lib-Dem. The Lib-Dem was claiming that the new roundabout would relieve the significant congestion at peak times especially due to the Bowland school buses using the route but I got a letter into the Clitheroe Advertiser & Times exploding the whole plan. I pointed out that the congestion was caused by parked cars on Ribble Lane making the key part single file only for some distance and that the new roundabout would increase pollution and cost the people who use road extra in fuel to go to Clitheroe and the Tory opposing it won the election easy wiping out the former big Lib-Dem majority they probably thought secure based on he and his wife’s big status in the local church. The new Tory RVBC man didn’t last long as when attending council meetings even the other Tories wouldn’t speak to him and he was busy with his work so often unable to attend parish council meetings so he resigned and at the by-election a born and bred Chatburn lad who works as a manager at the cement works took over. I suggested the simple solution to at least reduce the congestion was to operate a virtual one way system for Bowland buses, go via Sawley then return through Grindleton and up Ribble Lane thus avoiding turning right onto the A59 but the then parish council chair was not bright enough to get her head around the concept and it was never official policy.
I did actually stand for election to the Chatburn parish council but there were not enough candidates willing to stand so I got on by default anyway and it was a useful experience and got me introduced to Mike Otter and the opportunity to quiz him about the new alleged super green waste composting plant they had built at Farrington. He told me that although the principle seemed to wok well the Environment Agency would not allow the resulting compost to be used on the land and I can imagine why as it was probably full of bits of plastic but he did offer me the opportunity of a site visit to see for myself although I never took him up on his offer. I suspect that the whole project was yet another green fraud investment scam with the object of the exercise was for the Banks to cripple the LCC finances servicing the accompanying PFI contract, which like all the other PFI deals taken out by Labour for new hospitals and schools are a virtual welfare state for the stock market parasites. Whist I have forgotten most of the detail I read somewhere that there was a potentially bent deal on the transport contract associated with the new waste plant as well.
The biggest subject which came up when I was on the parish council was plans for an executive housing development using access to the Old Road which comes out onto the top of Ribble Lane across from the Post Office and the main objection was based on the junction sight lines and perhaps the developers thought they could get away with it as most of the parish councillors were festering a 20 Zone there. It soon became obvious that they were using the plans to have a go at the closing the Post office again when they proposed a plan to move the stop line at the bottom of the Old Road 18 inches out into the nearside of the road on Ribble Lane protected by a build out of the kerb immediately to the right. The road is only just wide enough for two buses to safely pass in opposite directions with the existing layout. In addition the six wheel HGV van which is used to deliver grocery supplies from the wholesale supplier they took out a contract with to keep the prices at least reasonable parks nose down from the top to unload on the offside. Now we are getting quite a bit of Waddington Fell quarry traffic in 44 tonne artics with high sleeper cabs which won’t fit under Waddington Road bridge using Ribble Lane but is that on the Banks closure list as well ? The proposed 20 Zone there has never materialised perhaps because it would reduce property prices based on potential highly paid commuters buying houses in Grindleton but they did get both Downham roads perhaps in an attempt to stuff people going over the top to Nelson ?
Despite the fact that everyone knew about the potential danger the plans sailed through RVBC no problem perhaps due to the fact that our Chatburn councillor was gagged as he worked at the cement works so had a potential conflict of interest. RVBC also knew that the report about the impact of work in the quarry the developers produced was proven pure fiction, and they also knew the owners of modern homes built much further away were experiencing cracks in the walls and dust problems. Its a bit surprizing that Castle Cement didn’t make a bigger deal about it but perhaps they were muted with the threat of a crash in the share price of their holding corporate ?
The final hurdle was LCC and despite the fact he knew about the potential impact on the post office Martin Nugent simply rubber stamped the developers junction proposals and the plans were passed no problem, and perhaps he had been influenced by the banks as its possible ( the son of a former big Blackburn second hand car dealer) land owner would have taken the bank down with him after borrowing up to the max to support any other business interests he had based on selling the land for development when its poor agricultural land anyway. Perhaps the same principle also applies to other controversial development plans in the Ribble valley and especially around Clitheroe like Henthorn for instance where again perhaps Martin Nugent simply rubber stamped. The Henthorn plans would have been OK if they had included building a new direct road from Primrose for commuter traffic to avoid the town centre altogether plus a new rail station which could have been used for shopping in Clitheroe. and its a long time ago but when Brockhall mental hospital closed and was developed for executive housing perhaps the council planners should have insisted on a new road direct across the fields to Petre roundabout using the space available ?
Even though the plans for the proposed development off Waddington Road were blocked by the inspector on transport grounds due to flooding in the dip under the low rail bridge they have been resubmitted with fewer bigger houses and an addition access via Kirkmoor Road. Perhaps they could have had a case if Parson Lane into the town centre was two way like it was originally but if the market is busy the Zebra crossing across to Booths can cause gridlock, and perhaps RVBC will be forced to approve it as its said that Clitheroe Auction Mart is one of the landowners along with another big Clitheroe estate ?
Perhaps its time people woke up to reality and the longer the politicians attempt to delay the inevitable default the worse the damage to our true sustainable economy but its clear now that the economic plan they were all betting on is doomed to fail. Perhaps some business was betting on an influx of short trip Chinese millionaire tourists flown in direct from the provinces via a new ( apparently short ) third runway at Heathrow for fat cat executives to use and make space on the existing runways. Then use HS2 to Manchester for a coach trip around Lancashire tourist attractions and if over the weekend staying at the new Hotel ( which has wrecked any possibility of reopening what was perhaps the best road bus interchange in the country before they messed with it.) and go to worship in the Cathedral Sunday morning before setting off back home. Its been reported that the Chinese property bubble and the basis of the wealth of their millionaires is on the point of imploding and perhaps Emirates cancelled their order for 70 new A350 Airbus jets after realising that the projected market they were ordered for will never materialise ?
Most of the stuff I discover is by pure accident and when my dad died last year I was talking to the local vicar about my observations about the stock market yet he told me that his modest investments have done really well, and perhaps key public figures get preferential treatment to ensure their investments do well. I hadn’t seen the paperwork then but a stock market policy from a once respectable name my dad took out for me as a kid has lost 20% in value since 2000 despite the FTSE being theoretically back to the same level if not higher. Council officers have always been paid well on the basis that it reduces the risk of corruption but people are often greedy enough to fall into the trap of unsustainable debt just like poor people take out pay day loans. Perhaps its due to the pressure to keep up with the Joneses and have the latest flash car, house continually done up to look new as the illusion of an ideal lifestyle as portrayed in the media promotes like going on mega expensive holidays to tropical islands every year.
Perhaps the only way to solve the potential problem of corruption in public life is to ban any form of credit for key officials and to ensure good people are prepared to do it pay them extra for full scrutiny of their financial affairs, and of their children and other close relatives Perhaps for starters local councils should provide key officers with desent free housing like my now long dead uncle Parker who ran Accrington Crematorium in the 1970s when it had the cheapest prices in the entire UK. Perhaps the UK’s main problem has been the fact that for far too long now the universities have been turning out virtual ideological clones of Professor Marcos as played by Alec Guinness in the 1950s in the Ealing comedy The Ladykillers who apparently work on his theory that its OK to steal £60,000 in an armed robbery because its only a farthing on all the premiums of all the policies and it does no real harm. ( transfer that to reflect current relative prices ) Similarly politicians seem to be doing what Winston Churchill once said about appeasing the Nazi’s in that its like being nice to a crocodile in the hope that it will eat you last, and the root cause of our current predicament is probably the Corporate-Nazi Wall Street financiers from the very same family lines as those who funded Hitler and his big armaments programme in the 1930s The origin of the Nazi party came from the German environmentalists known as Der Vandervogel and perhaps the UK equivalent may be the key ideological force in the Ramblers and many of them are still key players in the now green leaning Labour Party ?