The Corporate Subversion of Local Government Pt2

Getting back to the original plot and in 1998 and after I had painlessly liberated myself from my now obviously mentally unstable ( especially after consuming alcohol ) probably due to her dad ( who later became one of the top NSPCC guys at Burnley ) regularly beating her up as a kid girlfriend who had made me a virtual prisoner due to her jealousy and stopped me visiting all my old friends I got involved as a campaigner against traffic calming.   I got back into contact with an old friend from Billington former long term Tory borough councillor until she was kicked off by the Poll Tax and replaced by a Lib-Dem.   She was leading a local campaign to stop a new Redrow executive housing development on land next to Whalley arches the land at the top once used as a tip with allotments at the bottom on the less boggy bit with a new junction onto the old A59 immediately next to the rail bridge over the road.   To make it look really serious she had got an extremely wealthy friend of hers who lived near Blackpool and owned a second house in the adjacent terrace to commission and pay for a report by an alleged top consultant and the main focus was on the potentially dangerous new junction although the tip being potentially toxic was also brought up. 
Their plan was that they would build out the pavement under the bridge and next to the end of the terrace to improve the sight lines as the road was wide enough at that point to allow just enough room for two buses to pass each other in opposite directions and cut the 40 speed limit to 30.   As a carrot to the locals it was proposed to build a new Zebra crossing next to the nearby kids play area and swings but it also included build outs at other junctions in the village as the main excuse for lowering the speed limit throughout.  I did my bit by writing to LCC in objection with my key point being that if they built out the pavement immediately next to the 14ft 9 iron span bridge there was the serious possibility that one of the 14ft 3 double deckers as then used the road to ferry the kids to and from nearby St Augustine’s Catholic secondary school there was a real possibility that in the event of one of the said buses having to swerve to avoid oncoming traffic and thereby hitting the kerb could cause it to bounce up and strike the bridge.
At that time there was a popular people’s revolt against traffic calming and particularly in Gt Harwood seat of the long time Labour group leader George Slynn led by a retired long service ex police pursuit driving trainer, who like me worked on the theory that to reduce accidents you need to create space to avoid them.   The Tories climbed on his bandwagon and he stood against Slynn and won easy at the elections, the main point was the two new close together mini roundabouts which the locals had christened Billy Smart’s Circus but also the massive humps on a potential town centre avoiding road which later stopped the new low floor buses using it if the main road was blocked for some reason.  He invited me to attend the Hyndburn council meeting where the proposed Quality Bus Partnerships were the main agenda as part of John Prescott’s plan to improve public transport in an attempt to make more people use it.  Stagecoach had promised to buy new low floor buses even though they cost 25% extra on the condition that the council would create new priority bus lanes and install new bus shelters everywhere on the main routes plus raise the kerbs at bus stops and the officers floated the idea of selling electronic adverts on the shelters but that fell through.   However, the Tories who had won overall control of Hyndburn at the said elections would not remove any existing traffic calming anywhere and perhaps the honest ex police driver resigned soon because his political activism was damaging the potential of the private driver training business he had set up based mainly on stopping sports celebrities and corporate executives killing themselves in their fast cars.
Despite the fact that it was obvious that the already high fares would have to significantly increase to cover the capital investment cost and extra interest payments Hyndburn council virtually rubber stamped the bus plans and they went through.  Back to the Biillington development and that was approved on a tight vote after one of the councillors who promised to vote against failed to turn up to the meeting but the official main Billington RVBC Lib-Dem councillor voted for the development.  The residents weren’t giving up though and had great faith in their area Tory LCC councillor blocking it there, and they were invited to attend the meeting at county hall in Preston I was also asked to attend but when he stood up to speak he just spewed out a load of pointless waffle.  With the benefit of hindsight perhaps its clear that the Tory party never had any serious intention of stopping the said development and the whole object of the exercise was to ensure their candidate got elected to RVBC at the next election.  One of the objections to the development which was dismissed by all the alleged civil engineering expert officers was the threat to the integrity of the railway embankment, which after the top house was built slipped due to them digging the foundations so close and it closed the line until they had tipped 1000’s of tons of rock to secure it plus they had to demolish the house.

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