Author Topic: thamesdown drive  (Read 15710 times)

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Offline Muggins

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2015, 09:03:50 AM »
Nothing to do with the election Terry, a very vocal and large group of people including several community groups raised the issue and reminded them of the commitment to build this road 20 years ago, it should have been done immediately when Thamesdown Drive was completed.  It was part of the Northern development off site infrastucture plan.   

Have the time line here somewhere!   Remember this when posting about it, this was a people movement that got them talking about it again, the council would have been happy to let this lie, those who suffer the consequences of back up traffic were not.

I went to the meetings and after listening to their arguments and what they have to live with, I agree with them!  I was at several of the meetings 20 years ago too.  Agreed with it then. Not because it bothers me, but I did sympathise and respect the 'expertise' they acquired about such things.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2015, 06:35:22 PM »
what you say mugs, is right in its way, but before the  election, I went to many council meetings, and repeated questions on TD were just put down, and the reason was always the cost of the review of the road and its route etc.. they didnt want to spend the 500 odd K that was banded about and yet come election it was no problem.. mind you with the debt they have, whats a few more bob on the hook..

Offline Muggins

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2015, 08:43:50 AM »
I knew that Terry the group of communities knew that - but at one of the meetingsm they wer reminded that had already committed to spending the money for a shovel ready plan and indeed may well have already had that money - it could have been in that missing 106 money from Northern Development and it was highly likely it was.

At the end of that meeting they had promised, and got the promise from some of those present to be a 'discussion GRoup - for lack of a better word (mine not theirs)  to work towards finding the cash, producing a shovel ready plan..

Though I still think one was done, whoever was in charge of it made redundant and them that's left have forgotten it.  ther was plenty of discussion around it at the time.

So from that meeting the intention was that that they would get on with it.  I've haven't paid much attention to it since, but those (community bods) that are more fully involved, are old campaigners, well used to the nuances of planning and traffic movement - I expect them to do the best for us they can, I've seen them at work before.   
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2015, 05:38:30 PM »
I've never been a fan of the 'shovel ready' plan.

A design is worthless without proper planning and consultation and planning and consultation is a bit meaningless without a firm commitment and a start date.

SBC can spend £500k developing the plans, but if they get the go ahead in 2 or maybe 5 years time, the consultees, councillors, pricing structure, ecology, legislation and several other factors will have changed.

They will just end up changing the design and paying the consultants twice.

Offline Muggins

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2015, 11:06:59 AM »
They have to start somewhere Spunky, even the merest of planning services are starting with out of date census figures, because it's just not possible to have them done overnight.

They did start, they did consult on the need for that road 20 years ago.

Of course, now they need to start on the shovel ready plan consultation, then when they have used the shovel ready plan to get the cash for the build - they won't get it without one - then when they have got the cash they will/must/should consult again on the actual planning apps for it.

I hope you are not a fan of the 'feel the need' or 'just want' 'let's do something here' 'yes, lets!' brigade and forge ahead with no consideration for others - because boy, are we suffering from that up here right now.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2015, 11:35:25 AM »
I'm not opposed to outline designs, but I dislike the term 'shovel ready' plans because it is a nonsense. I have worked in the industry for 30 years and I have never known a 'shovel ready' plan to be delivered. This 'shovel ready' term seems to have been invented by politicians not engineers.

When I worked at SBC my boss used to talk about getting a design in the drawer. We wasted a lot of staff time and didn't build any of them. A good example of this was the landslip near to Hodson. There was no money to repair it, so a design was prepared and put in a drawer and councillors were bullshitted that it would allow us to respond quickly if it slipped again or got worse. It was a pointless exercise, because the design would only be used if the situation changed in which case the design would no longer be relevant.

To me 'shovel ready' plans means a design that is sufficiently developed that it could be built. We could design concrete bridges using Eurocodes, but if the price of steel falls and David Cameron takes us out of Europe we might be better off with steel bridges designed to British Standards when we finally come to build them.

A comprehensive option study and preliminary/outline design and consultation makes sense, but 'shovel ready' plans is just spin.



Offline Muggins

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2015, 08:36:59 AM »
I get that point Spunky, but I sort of agree with your boss, if a plan is there, they  - the grant and funding advisors - can look for appropriate streams as they become available.

We've done this in our own community and a researched plan and basic design is sitting here in my 'office', replicated somewhere in the Borough waiting  for such a scheme. (Splash Park)   I have no doubt there will be things that need to be changed but at least we have the evidence we want it, where we want it and approximate costs.  If a funding stream came up - we wouldn't have the time to do that.

In fact such funding came up a the end of the last Labour government - play/exercise/open spaces.  The plan was included in a larger bid and the promise came of the funds to do job. Unfortunately, there was general election and the new government withdrew the funding - all over the country, there was an outcry and they replaced it, but only half.  Unfortunately our Splash park was in the half they didn't get - our council thinking that the Coate one was more important.   

What a shame they didn't divert, the developers money they spent on what now looks like an obsolete water feature at Northern orbital?? 

What you say about forward plans being shoved in a cupboard somewhere makes me even more convinced on for the new road is already there somewhere!!

Copies of road timelines, if I can get them up

Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Muggins

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2015, 08:38:55 AM »
sorry only half - here's the rest.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2015, 12:13:07 PM »
We've done this in our own community and a researched plan and basic design is sitting here in my 'office', replicated somewhere in the Borough waiting  for such a scheme.

M, That's my point. SBC should complete the advance research, planning, detailed cost estimate and BASIC design (or outline design), but not a DETAILED design.

An outline design for a major road scheme is hardly 'shovel ready' under my definition, but that is the point - there is no official definition of what 'shovel ready' actually means. It is a political term not an engineering one (first coined by Barrack Obama according to Wikipedia).

Detailed design is expensive, but doesn't take long. The time consuming bits are consultation, ecology mitigation, land acquisition, planning consent etc. The problem with planning and EA consent is that they are time limited and can expire if funding doesn't materialise quickly.

Making minor changes to a detailed design is also more complicated than it sounds due to the way that local authorities procure work. SBC don't have the in house capability to design a major road, so they would have to employ a consultant. SBC currently have a partnership agreement with Halcrow, so they would be the obvious choice.

So Halcrow produce the 'shovel ready' design which will inevitably require tweaks and changes, but by the time the road is ready to be built, the Halcrow partnership will likely have ended and a new partner in place. Who makes the changes? Do you go back to Halcrow and upset your new partner or start again with the new partner.

SBC might think that the new partner can make the changes cheaply, but in doing so they will take on responsibility for the whole project and will want adequate compensation for taking on the risk. They won't settle for just a payment for the hours spent making the changes because they will be taking all of the design risk for the whole scheme. Halcrow will rubbing their hands, because they will have taken a large fee for an obsolete design and zero risk.

Produce an outline design and develop the detailed design when you are committed to building it. That way you only pay once.

Another argument against 'shovel ready' plans that never get built is the shortage of engineers. The industry is stretched as it is and salaries are rising fast (my salary has risen by 40% in 3 years). By procuring unnecessary designs, clients are creating their own inflation. It has been argued that one of the reasons that Network Rail has scaled back its plans, is because they realised that by introducing a huge surge in demand they were competing with themselves for scarce resources and driving up costs.

If developing 'shovel ready' plans has become necessary to secure public funding, the government has shot itself in the foot by driving up prices. It is a simple formula.

Money available for construction = Budget - land acquisition - planning costs - design fees - abortive fees.

If a detailed design costs 20%, then the abortive fees for every 5 designs in a drawer, means one less that actually reaches the construction stage. This is an example of where the public sector is going wrong. If SBC needs a 'shovel ready' plan to demonstrate serious intent in order to secure funding, then so do other authorities across the country. Local authorities are being forced to incur costs in order to compete with each other for limited public funds, thereby wasting money and reducing the amount of available funds.

Competition within the private sector is supposed to reduce waste and improve efficiency, but in the public sector it seems to have the opposite effect.

It is the same with the 'use it or lose it' mentally associated with public or grant funding. It is better for SBC to waste unspent money rather than return it to the pot and let another authority have it. I have seen this so many times. The system encourages local authorities to act selfishly. On a case by case basis, it looks like the selfish behaviour is in the authorities favour, but because they are all doing the same thing, when you look at the bigger picture, the tax payer loses.

Offline Muggins

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #29 on: August 25, 2015, 06:39:50 PM »

Spunky quote:  "It is the same with the 'use it or lose it' mentally associated with public or grant funding. It is better for SBC to waste unspent money rather than return it to the pot and let another authority have it. I have seen this so many times. The system encourages local authorities to act selfishly. On a case by case basis, it looks like the selfish behaviour is in the authorities favour, but because they are all doing the same thing, when you look at the bigger picture, the tax payer loses."

I'd agree with you there, however I think it's the government that requires the 'shovel ready'. So needs must (when the devil drives) they will play the game, like we all do. Gone are the days when you got a bit funding 'to do what's necessary' and probably that is now denied us, because of waste before back then.  Well, we all knew it was. 

The whole scenario now is a waste, even things they are doing to save money is creating more waste and it starts right at the top.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #30 on: August 26, 2015, 04:08:43 PM »
With all due respect very few of you, if any, know the inside story!!

Both MP's before the election stated, in writing, that they could not ask the Government for money without plans to take to them

Not unreasonable I think!!

There is a Committee of Interested People and Community Groups who have promoted the Road under the Guidance and Involvement of the three Rodbourne Cheney Councillors.  This group is called TDex and is Chaired by Bill King and Councillor Des Moffatt is Secretary.  Bill King is Chairman of the Whitworth Road Residents Association.  The Group claims to be non political but that has not achieved very much thus far and in my opinion that is somewhat naieve!

Following pressure in Council it was decided by Motion to set up a Cabinet Member Advisory Group, the Lead Member being Dale Heenan 

Now this CMAG Group which has met four times on March, 12th April, 8th June 4th and July 2nd and has a very interesting bunch of Councillors sitting or should I say are absent from its meetings

They are as follows:

Alan Bishop Highworth - No record of attendance whatsoever

Dale Heenan (Cabinet Member) March 12th & April 8th & July 2nd

Richard Hurley Covingham & Nythe - July 2nd only

Nick Martin June 4th & July 2nd

Timothy Swinyard  March 12th April 8th & July 2nd

Des Moffatt became a member if this group from June 4th & July 2nd

As you can see the Conservatives are taking this whole issue extremely seriously!!

This is best illustrated by the published minutes of the first three meetings

March 12th 2015

http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=72755&ISATT=1#search=%22Cabinet%20Member%20Advisory%20Group%20on%20the%20Thamesdown%20Link%22

April 8th 2015

http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/s73411/Minutes%20of%20Previous%20Meeting.pdf

June 4th 2015

http://ww5.swindon.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/g6802/Printed%20minutes%2004th-Jun-2015%2012.00%20Cabinet%20Member%20Advisory%20Group%20on%20the%20Thamesdown%20Link.pdf?T=1

July 2nd 2015

No minutes available but I have determined that Alan Bishop was the only absentee

What Alan Bishop Councillor for Highworth and Richard Hurley Councillor for Covingham and Nythe have to contribute by their ABSENCE or attendance of one meeting only is open to question?  They certainly have no constituency interest do they?  Nick Martin whose ward in Shaw is so affected by the chaos on Mead Way only attended one of the first three meetings!

So Where is this project going? 

TDex are taking it seriously but I think it is so mired in the Political long grass that is Euclid Street that it is a complete waste of everyone's time.  I strongly disagree with the statement that it should be non political, it had momentum in January and the politicians expressed interest in but now they don't have to so they won't get involved.

For my part I think we should concentrate on the Traffic Chaos that is Bruce Street Bridges and at Mannington - we can deal with this issue later.

It is just such a shame that those responsible for all these bad decisions will not be around long enough to be accountable for them, with the possible exception of poor old Des Moffatt who is up for election in Rodbourne Cheney next year and could be very vulnerable to a good UKIP Candidate who will vocalize this issue and not be afraid of upsetting the Status Quo in Council.



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Offline Muggins

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #31 on: August 26, 2015, 08:38:31 PM »
You forget Richard, that I was at one of the meetings showing my support for a group of very tenacious people.

Most of who do know what side they are on politically, but they won't let that stand in their way of giving a good fight for what they believe to be right.

And they are hardened old campaigners and far from naive.  Another thing in their favour was, most of them were around when the roads and off site infrastructure was planned in the late 80's early 90's  and have very long memories. 

And if they haven't kept the paper work - I have!
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #32 on: August 26, 2015, 09:08:16 PM »
You forget Richard, that I was at one of the meetings showing my support for a group of very tenacious people.

Most of who do know what side they are on politically, but they won't let that stand in their way of giving a good fight for what they believe to be right.

And they are hardened old campaigners and far from naive.  Another thing in their favour was, most of them were around when the roads and off site infrastructure was planned in the late 80's early 90's  and have very long memories. 

And if they haven't kept the paper work - I have!

Yes M I remember you being there and how many members of the public attended that night?  Very few if I recall and the steam had gone out of the campaign because we did not leaflet the local area!  I thought about offering to do it until I had a reality check as I was not Chairman and it was not my place to comment!

Seasoned campaigners or not there is not the Political Will to support this scheme and talking to the officers is a waste of time and will achieve nothing as they only Do What They Are Told to Do, something which seems to be lost on some very seasoned campaigners who should know better!

At the first CMAG meeting it was agreed TDex would provide the business case and very detailed it was too and then the Merri go Round started, old ground covered and it was talked to death and nothing was achieved.  I feel sorry for those who had to endure this nonsense.

If there is No Political Will Nothing will Happen and there is No Political Will and the time to orchestrate it has been lost, so Nothing will Happen in the foreseeable future.

This road is going nowhere!.

Sorry but that is the reality!! 
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Offline Phil Chitty

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #33 on: August 26, 2015, 11:02:18 PM »
That's great news Richard.

Could it just be SBC have come to their senses?

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2015, 10:37:35 PM »
That's great news Richard.

Could it just be SBC have come to their senses?

No they are just posturing as usual Phil!

I am sorry, but I do not agree with you about the road being required.  If you lived up here, off Mead Way, you might think differently.

That said we need to sort out Mannington and see a result at Bruce Street which has the potential to be yet another costly failure and disaster!
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Offline Phil Chitty

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2015, 11:25:55 PM »
We'll have to agree to differ there Richard. This road will only move the problem and not far at that. It's going to cost £50 million and do untold damage to a nice green area. How does that make sense?

What is actually required is something far more radical. We need to build J16a somewhere around hook and link it in several places with North Swindon and the other new developments. We also need another crossing of the main railway.

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #36 on: August 28, 2015, 01:10:25 PM »
What is actually required is something far more radical. We need to build J16a somewhere around hook and link it in several places with North Swindon and the other new developments. We also need another crossing of the main railway.

Totally agree on that one Phil but that requires imagination and that is something the current lot completely lack.

You may be aware that it was originally part of the Tadpole Farm scheme to link up with the A419 which would have given us the first part of a much needed North South link.  But it miraculously disappeared as part of the Planning approval!  Hmmm.............

As regards a new railway crossing I am told there are tunnels underneith the Railway near to the station and these could be opened up.  Now the Council, if they had any forethought whatsoever, could investigate further crossings of the Railway before Electrification is completed, because afterwards it will not be possible without phenomenal expense.

Please don't start me off about the Bus Station as it could have been sited at the Railway Station but................. SBC was asleep as usual!!

or was it that it did not justify the expense at Kimmerfiields?  Take that as you will!

and exactly who are the investors in Kimmerfields and how much are they investing?  It is my understanding that SBC is at present on its own.  Will our Garry be proceeding and using yet more borrowed money?
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Offline Phil Chitty

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #37 on: August 28, 2015, 01:36:44 PM »
So don't get me wrong here Richard - are you saying that because we have a Council with no foresight and imagination, we have to build a road that we don't need and that won't solve the problem?


Offline Midlander

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #38 on: August 28, 2015, 02:22:10 PM »
As regards a new railway crossing I am told there are tunnels underneith the Railway near to the station and these could be opened up.  Now the Council, if they had any forethought whatsoever, could investigate further crossings of the Railway before Electrification is completed, because afterwards it will not be possible without phenomenal expense.

Tunnels underneath the railway? I didn't know that. If there's one under the Kemble track close to the station, why hasn't it been opened up? It would make sense to have a direct link between the Outlet Village and North Star

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: thamesdown drive
« Reply #39 on: August 28, 2015, 03:12:56 PM »
So don't get me wrong here Richard - are you saying that because we have a Council with no foresight and imagination, we have to build a road that we don't need and that won't solve the problem?

 ;D ;D

I broke out in laughter in response Phil.

No I am not saying our Wonderful Vibrant and Imaginative Council should build this road because they are anything but.......

I believe we need the road, but only as part of a properly thought through Transport system. 

Mead Way and Akers Way are a mess and were never built to cope with the traffic they now have to handle, we need to move heavy traffic away from them, as I am sure you would agree?

If you built this road as it was intended way back in the late 1980's it would facilitate the removal of the heavy lorries that now use Mead Way and Akers Way with a specially provided entrance into Cheney Manor.  With all the additional work being sought by SBC for its incinerator in Cheney Manor it would take the traffic away from Cheney Manor Road and therefore Bruce Street Bridges which is a disaster waiting to happen.  I witnessed a heavy lorry coming from the West onto the new roundabout and it took up all of it such is the poor quality of the design.  Instead of providing a gentle curve with a designated lane for Cheney Manor Road the roundabout design makes overtaking difficul and therefore curtails the flow of traffic.  Perhaps this is deliberate?

Anyway I am going on too much, but I do so hope I am wrong about Bruce Street!

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