Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Is this really the most urgent call on taxpayers hard earned cash?

The first sod was turned today to deliver a by-pass for Burgh-le-Marsh. You'd be forgiven for asking where Burgh is - it's a small village just outside Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast.

After years of campaigns for a Burgh by-pass, earlier this year the Government was heavily lobbied by Lincolnshire County Council - and in particular Neil Cooper, Conservative County Councillor for Burgh-le-Marsh.

While it's good to know we have a listening Government which comes up with the cash for such worthy schemes, I do wonder how Burgh came to be top of the list for a major road scheme.

I'm rather fond of Burgh (pronounced Borough by the locals), having spent many a happy hour there in my younger day (but that's another story!)

True, heavy traffic to and from Skeggy blights the local village during the summer months.

But there are towns in Lincolnshire far worse snarled up by traffic than this relatively small coastal village.

Lincoln for example, our county town, cries out for an Eastern relief road to take damaging thundering heavy traffic away from one the nation's most beautiful historic city centre.

Not to mention other appalling traffic gridlocks around the county like Grantham or Boston.

Even if the priority was easing the journey times for day-trippers to the coast, logic suggests sorting out snarl-ups in Grantham or Boston would come far higher up the list than the small village of Burgh-le-Marsh.

But if concern about the developing the economy of Lincolnshire was important, there would be no contest: Burgh-le-Marsh wouldn't make the shortlist in the by-pass stakes.

I'm reminded of a debate at a county council committee a couple of years ago when Labour councillors were questioning the Conservative administration about the lack of logic on how road schemes around the county seem to get prioritised.

Suddenly, former Conservative Leader of the Council Bill Wyrill (who had given every impression of being asleep until that point) sparked into life. In his latter days as a councillor, Councillor Bill didn't say much, but when he spoke, you could hear a pin drop.

Councillor Bill contributed this telling gem:

"In my day, it was simple," he said. "The councillor who shouted loudest won the money for his local scheme."

So well shouted Neil Cooper.

Bill retired from the Council at last year's elections.

It seems, however, that little has changed.

1 comment:

Brynley said...

Phil, the Eastern Bypass at Lincoln HAS been prioritised by Lincs County Council.

The truth is that it is a hugely expensive scheme.

If you or they wanted to show some leadership you would face down the live-only-for-today Clarksons of this world and say:

"We will back a congestion charge in Lincoln to begin the same day the Eastern Bypass opens."

Then you get a REAL debate.

Nearer home, what about buses in the Morton-Sleaford gap. Still in the 1970s are South Kesteven.

Last week I had business in Hampshire, Phil.

In their thinly populated areas, they have roam zones [I kid you not] where the buses will respond to telephone pre-booking.

Bourne councillors should be fighting for these, Phil.