Thursday, 17 September 2009
Fleet Street & the Missing £3Million
On Tuesday evening I went along to the Torbay Council forum, a chance for us rate payers to have a say in anything to do with the running of the Bay. Fleet Street was my main topic and the Balloon my secondary topic. When I heard about the forum I decided to informally ask my passengers what their feelings were in these two areas. They are all visitors to the Bay and would have no preconceived ideas. Basically I asked had they been up in the balloon and had they been along Fleet Street. None that I spoke to had been for a trip 400 feet in the air but those I spoke to were all of the opinion that the balloon was an eye sore and we would be better of puncturing the thing without delay.
When Fleet Street was mention most people liked walking along in the traffic free area but could not understand why buses suddenly appeared without warning. After I had explained that there wasn’t a viable alternative route other than sending 53 buses an hour up and down Belgrave Road, the road their hotel was on, many of then couldn’t understand why the place was so cluttered, benches that could be better placed and the positioning of several flower beds that do little to improve the appearance of the place. My feelings exactly. So I went along to the meeting and put my point of view forward. The Mayor listened and then asked Councillor Lewis to explain why nothing would be done about the clutter. Basically there has been a plan in place, which I knew about, to restructure the roadway in Fleet Street, a definite section of roadway for the buses and a greatly reduced amount of street furniture to give pedestrians more room to pedest. The cost of these improvements would be £3million. As it is a road and government pay for roads the council had felt entitled to ask the government for the money which they did. However the government had also felt entitled to refuse. Which they did.
Councillor Lewis then went on to say that while he agreed with me that Fleet Street was past it’s best and did need improvements he also felt that the government would one day give us the money (no timetable for the arrival of the Securicor Truck containing £3million was mentioned, for security reasons no doubt). He was reluctant to spend rate payers money making minor alterations when any day now the full amount would be provided by that nice Mr Brown. Or his successor. Or even his successors successor.
Now I would point out that Devon County Council and Torbay Council have been asking the government for money to build a bye pass round Kingskerswell ever since the words bye pass entered the English language, even the government agree the bye pass is desperately needed. It still hasn’t turned up so what chance do you think we have of getting the £3million pounds for a bit of cosmetic surgery to a 500 metre stretch of pedestrianised road which all the improvements in the world will do nothing to speed up the flow of traffic through Torquay, it’ll just make life easier and more pleasant for the pedestrians who use it?