Friday, 6 April 2012

Road budget gerrymander




Every April & May we go through the same overt Tory games with road repairs and pavement re-surfacing works published and the resultant examination leading to charges of gerrymandering.

This year of course the budget for road-resurfacing and pot-hole repairs for all areas has been slashed by Medway Tories by £250,000.

It makes a mockery when residents in inner urban wards; River, Strood North/South; who have the oldest set of properties, and roads remain in a total state of disrepair, that resource is conveniently skewed to other Conservative-controlled wards. It happens every single year; without fail.

I jog along Priestfields Road weekly; my mum is about to move to Priestfields so I declare an interest right now. But there is no way that Priestfields is more in need of re-surfacing than Wayfield Road in Luton & Wayfield. I know both roads very well; and Priestfields is in a far better state currently; and both I would argue similar traffic flow. It can only be political pressure.

Indeed no Labour controlled wards will have any form of conventional road re-surfacing at all. Not one. And broken down as a proportion; of the 28 schemes planned 18/28 are in wards with only Conservative dominance and a further 6 have majority Conservatives. [Road scheme number 11 is also right on the edge of Twydall]. This is gerrymandering of Council tax-payers money on a grand-scale.

In addition the above document contains a number of projects which should have been completed last year; which to me shows that the budget for road surfacing has been raided to pay for Council budget overspends in other departments.

Below is last years road and pavement resurfacing list
Public Information Road and Pavement Resurfacing List 2011 - 12 (9.5.2011)

Duplicates from 2011/12 and 2012/2013 include:

  • Robson Drive - Microsurfacing - Supposed to have been completed in June / October 2011
  • Vicarage Lane - Microsurfacing - Supposed to have been completed in June / October 2011
  • The Fairway - Conventional - Supposed to have been completed in June / October 2011
  • St Margarets Street - Microsurfacing - Supposed to have been completed in June / October 2011
  • Laburnam Road - Microsurfacing - Supposed to have been completed in June / October 2011
  • Woodstock Road - Microsurfacing - Supposed to have been completed in June / October 2011
  • Southwark Road - Microsurfacing - Supposed to have been completed in June / October 2011

It seems to me that either the Tories are trying to hoodwink the public in this years budget by undertaking work they should have done last year or more likely; road resurfacing budgets have been raided to pay for overspends on other programmes; such as the bus station / Stoke Crossing and other over-budget capital projects.

It stinks to high heaven and shows that despite Tories squandering millions on road schemes in Chatham that they simply dont care about residential streets. It also shows that if you live in a ward outside of Rainham, Hempstead or the Hoo Peninsula the chances of you getting your road re-surfaced is next to null.

A quiet but growing financial incompetence surrounds that of the Stoke Crossing; to anyone that has travelled to this crossing it is simply the most grotesque waste of public money that I have come across; and many readers have seen Tories spray money into the wind over projects elsewhere.

The project is effectively a £14m bridge over a railway line in a rural part of Medway. This is a very expensive project when you consider the bus station would have cost a third of this amount.

It gets less press because though a multi-million pound project it is not in a visible location; but I have done a screenpic below.

£14m to cross a piece of railway track. Really... only Medway Conservatives

This is a multi-millon pound project to cross a tiny piece of infrequently used railway line; it is an absolute joke of quite sizeable proportions. How in any right-wing, low IQ'd brain, which sadly comprises the mass ranks of blue-rinsed lemmings, could anyone put this bridge as a priority is beyond any semblance of rationality and thought. And yes, like most Conservative projects; its over-budget by a cool £1.2m according to the latest reports. Standard lax attutude with public money that comes as standard with the Medway Tories.

What this post highlights is Tory duplicity and casual disregard for public money. Not only have the road surfacing budgets been gerrymandered but many should have been completed last year. Why? Because on project after botched project we are plugging the gaps on Tory pet projects like the Stoke Crossing.

A bridge to nowhere. No Tories; a bridge too far for taxpayers who are fed up of utter failure and incompetence to manage our local Authority

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