|Gareth Harris and I (Andy Chyba) met with Cllr Martyn Jones and BCBC traffic management officials Tony Godsall and Trevor Taylor on Wednesday morning. Thanks and credit to Martyn Jones for setting this up.We left pretty disappointed with the attitude of the BCBC officials, but reasonably encouraged that we can work with Martyn Jones to get this achieved eventually.
In essence, the BCBC guys kept saying they were not against the idea, but not in a position to implement it (cuts, predictable cuts…. blah, blah). The policy seems to be one of building it into new developments (thereby getting it paid for by the developers) – which effectively concedes that it is the right thing to do – but not retrofitting on any significant scale elsewhere unless there is clear evidence of a serious accident blackspot i.e people getting maimed and killed first!! The utterly naff and largely misguided 20mph stretches outside schools seem likely to be as far as retro-fitting to other areas.
Martyn Jones gave us slightly mixed messages. On the one hand he seems convinced that it would be a good thing for Bettws, but on the other, he buys into the ‘cuts’ agenda as an excuse for not doing the right thing now (well, he is in the Labour Party so that is to be expected). He is, however, a canny operator and sees opportunities to get it funded and in place through plans on the horizon for a substantially bigger primary school (to replace one wrecked by fire last year) and the redevelopment of the Lower Site (West) housing area by, he reckons, private developers buying the land off the Housing Association. Both of these are some way off – if they happen at all. (There could well be grounds to campaign against both of these ideas).
So in conclusion, will it happen? Yes, we think so.
When will it happen? No time soon!
We will try to ensure it stays high on the agenda, and hope Wales Government or perhaps the EU pushing it up the priority lists. Even Tories in some parts of the country can see its merit, so there may be a minor miracle and the Tories in Westminster might actually do something socially and environmentally responsible for a change. (Tory controlled Lancashire CC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-12282191 ).
There seems no immediate prospect of BCBC’s Labour administration taking the initiative and doing anything remotely this progressive. Unless, perhaps Martyn Jones shows them the evidence of it being a surefire vote winner (although Labour can take blind loyalty for granted in a large part of BCB).