I stumbled across
a new local website
at the beginning of the week but was instantly put off by its appearance. Sorry
but I have a possibly irrational dislike of websites which occupy a great deal of screen space with text that
doesn’t screen wrap. Effectively a large poster not a web page and the Bexley
Against Road Crossings website was quickly forgotten until Hugh Neal of Maggot Sandwich fame reminded me of it in
his latest blog.
It’s no great secret that I believe Bexley has been held back by North South transport links which are not much better than they were a century ago and I fail to see how that can be a sustainable position.
The borough is suffering right now because certain politicians delighted in being Luddites when first elected and it took them a long time to wake up to the impact on their finances. The north of the borough will be their salvation if modern industry is attracted to occupy the old brown field sites along the river. Would Ocado be building a half million square foot warehouse and “logistics hub” if it was likely that Bexley was going to forever remain an isolated backwater accessible only with difficulty?
Ocado has already placed its £100 million bet and big money talks.
The new site, already under construction, will include 1,377 car parking spaces, another 380 for vans, 44 for trailers, 40 for their tractor units and 32 more for miscellaneous HGV use.
I don’t think Ocado is giving much thought to carrying on their trade using public transport and Bexley borough cannot survive without the income from large commercial units and the residential housing that helps to support it.
Bexley Against Road Crossings make no concessions to anyone; they want a river crossing for trains and bikes, nothing else. They boldly say so…
…and it is madness. Some people must think that goods are delivered to shops by fairies.
How will cycling over the river be a better fit to Bexley’s Strategic Plan? (See footnote.) Does BARC even know what it is? The only real plan at the moment is to stay solvent and for that the two chumps pictured above have had to swallow their stupid pride and to some extent adopt local Labour Party policies.
I suspect that tolling cyclists or even the occasional train will not produce enough money to pay for the bridge.
Only last week I heard the two main political parties in agreement that there was now only one sensible way forward and Bexley council is taking it. It was unforgivably slow to see the light, preferring to put political careers first which has led to selling parks and the like, but as the deputy leader has said about other things, “I am not comfortable with it but we are where we are”.
Having cocked up big time my only continuing gripe with Bexley council is their constant spinning and occasional lying to cover up their mistakes. If Bexley council could one day be wholly truthful I would be straight out of here, there’d be nothing much to say.
The author of the BARC website seems to be unconcerned with the financial reality which is to go for growth or go broke. The site is unrelentingly negative. TfL’s projections of traffic levels may be based on flawed data or they may not but are ridiculed nevertheless. BARC’s guesses about the impact on several named local roads are apparently fact.
It is perhaps what one might expect of a campaigning website but I would have hoped for a bit more balance and half an eye cocked on the benefits, but BARC sees none.
I have misgivings about the Say No To Silvertown Tunnel campaign too but it does make a case that even cynics like me are prepared to think about. Blackwall needs a relief tunnel every time some idiot runs out of petrol and at peak hours but how one can restrict the A102 traffic to no more than it is already is more than a little tricky.
In Thamesmead and Belvedere northbound traffic has to go east or west, to give it a third choice could possibly reduce congestion but Bexley council’s long history of narrowing roads and introducing pinch points is likely to bite it in the bum.
Who would have thought that the 1990’s plan to tunnel under Plumstead directly to the A2 would ever look attractive?
Note: Bexley’s Transport planning webpage is hopelessly out of date. Data includes reference to Peter Craske being Cabinet Member for Public Realm, a postion he held only until June 2012 when the police felt his collar.