Thamesdown link in doubt over cost

This Is Wiltshire: Thamesdown Drive plan under doubt Thamesdown Drive plan under doubt

THE chances of securing a vital extension of Thamesdown Drive are looking increasingly remote as Swindon Council faces a £1m bill to continue with the project.

So far £80,000 has been spent on drawing up plans for the ring road link to put forward to the Chancellor, who failed to allocate any money for the £60m project in the Autumn Statement.

And after questioning the decision, councillors and MPs have been told they would have to spend a quarter of the town’s major transport budget over the next five years to continue, as well as allowing further housing developments in the west of Swindon.

Keith Williams, cabinet member for highways, strategic transport and leisure, said he was uneasy spending £1m on a project with no guarantee of approval.

“When we discovered we had not received any money from central government we inquired as to the reasons why, and were told we needed more local buy-in from the Local Enterprise Partnership of Wiltshire and Swindon,” he said.

Funding from central government for transport bodies within the LEP has been cut from £18m to £12m, reducing the amount available for Swindon.

“The road scheme that is preferred would cost in the region of £60m, and because money is allocated per capita, you could argue that the population of Swindon would only receive £4m of the LEP funds,” said Coun Williams.

“Given the work we have done so far, the next stage would be to produce a detailed design of the road, which would cost £600,000.

“On top of that we would need to spend £400,000 to redo the traffic network as a whole.

“What we found after going to Whitehall is the route we would have to take is through growth-point funding. Growth in Swindon is currently planned for the east of the town. Development for the west, which could fund this road, would have to be locked in to the Wiltshire potential for growth to the west.

“We do not necessarily want that development, but we would not be able to fund this road unless it goes ahead. There is a chance that would go ahead anyway, but it puts us in a very difficult position.

“I am reluctant to commit £1m to take this to the next stage when there is no guarantee of funding.

“To commit 25 per cent of our major transport budget for a scheme that may not happen we would not be at all comfortable with.”

Kevin Fisher, chairman of the Shaw Residents’ Association, said the government was putting the council in an untenable position.

“To require local authorities to gamble taxpayers’ money in the hope that afterwards they would release the money to complete the project seems unreasonable. They should give some guarantee it would be forthcoming,” he said.

“I do not believe we should drop it. It is a vital project. In terms of future development, whether this road gets built or not, history tells us more land to the west is going to get developed.”

Haydon Wick parish council chairman Richard Hailstone said the council should have acted faster to secure the project. “I am naturally disappointed, but I can’t say I am surprised,” he said.

“I think Swindon Council have been dragging their feet on this issue. Money used for other areas could have been used for preparatory work and to get plans ready.

“All the new developments, taken together, amount to several thousand more vehicles on the roads every day. Twenty years ago, when the northern development was in the planning stage, it recognised the need for a link road. Twenty years on we have nothing, and extra developments are now a recipe for disaster.”

Comments (13)

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6:06am Fri 31 Jan 14

Tomdog says...

Very simple funding solution let the builders who are building the housing pay for the congestion caused. Problem solved easy.
Very simple funding solution let the builders who are building the housing pay for the congestion caused. Problem solved easy. Tomdog

7:15am Fri 31 Jan 14

Ian13 says...

Please no more housing this side of Swindon until this road is built. The road system, like some councillors, is not fit for purpose!
Please no more housing this side of Swindon until this road is built. The road system, like some councillors, is not fit for purpose! Ian13

8:04am Fri 31 Jan 14

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Anyone surprised.....?

The level of development in the North is already unsustainable due to the lack of infrastructure and yet more and more is being planned.
Anyone surprised.....? The level of development in the North is already unsustainable due to the lack of infrastructure and yet more and more is being planned. LordAshOfTheBrake

8:12am Fri 31 Jan 14

house on the hill says...

Ian13 wrote:
Please no more housing this side of Swindon until this road is built. The road system, like some councillors, is not fit for purpose!
I am just surprised you think any councillors are fit for purpose. Looking around the town and reading the moronic comments on here from some of them, it doesn't look like it...
[quote][p][bold]Ian13[/bold] wrote: Please no more housing this side of Swindon until this road is built. The road system, like some councillors, is not fit for purpose![/p][/quote]I am just surprised you think any councillors are fit for purpose. Looking around the town and reading the moronic comments on here from some of them, it doesn't look like it... house on the hill

9:00am Fri 31 Jan 14

Richard Symonds says...

Tomdog wrote:
Very simple funding solution let the builders who are building the housing pay for the congestion caused. Problem solved easy.
Exactly.
You have to ask why Councillor Williams did not actively pursue planning help from Wiltshire. Shaw Conservative Councillors did nothing to stop Ridgeway Farm, they made a lot of noise but couldn't even persuade their Conservative colleague in North Wiltshire to call it into planning and properly mitigate the impact with meaningful 106 money from the developer. After all it is Swindon which is being affected not North Wiltshire!!
You have to ask why it is considered more important to build a £15m Car Park that we do not need to SUPPORT the developer in his plans and then spend yet more millions on pulling down other car parks. If you are on the dole and need to feed the family you do not go down the pub for a drink, or do you?
They could find the money if they wanted to, but does it have to cost £1m to do the work, why do we have to put the work out to consultants?
and what happened to the millions we were paid by central government for all the additional houses we built?
We get the representation we deserve!
[quote][p][bold]Tomdog[/bold] wrote: Very simple funding solution let the builders who are building the housing pay for the congestion caused. Problem solved easy.[/p][/quote]Exactly. You have to ask why Councillor Williams did not actively pursue planning help from Wiltshire. Shaw Conservative Councillors did nothing to stop Ridgeway Farm, they made a lot of noise but couldn't even persuade their Conservative colleague in North Wiltshire to call it into planning and properly mitigate the impact with meaningful 106 money from the developer. After all it is Swindon which is being affected not North Wiltshire!! You have to ask why it is considered more important to build a £15m Car Park that we do not need to SUPPORT the developer in his plans and then spend yet more millions on pulling down other car parks. If you are on the dole and need to feed the family you do not go down the pub for a drink, or do you? They could find the money if they wanted to, but does it have to cost £1m to do the work, why do we have to put the work out to consultants? and what happened to the millions we were paid by central government for all the additional houses we built? We get the representation we deserve! Richard Symonds

9:05am Fri 31 Jan 14

Richard Symonds says...

Ian13 wrote:
Please no more housing this side of Swindon until this road is built. The road system, like some councillors, is not fit for purpose!
Sorry Ian you have absolutely no chance on that one. If a united planning committee can pass Tadpole Farm without the required road access to the A419 then it is now open season here in Swindon.
Just go to the Council Offices and ask to see the plans for development all over Swindon, it is frightening!!
[quote][p][bold]Ian13[/bold] wrote: Please no more housing this side of Swindon until this road is built. The road system, like some councillors, is not fit for purpose![/p][/quote]Sorry Ian you have absolutely no chance on that one. If a united planning committee can pass Tadpole Farm without the required road access to the A419 then it is now open season here in Swindon. Just go to the Council Offices and ask to see the plans for development all over Swindon, it is frightening!! Richard Symonds

10:28am Fri 31 Jan 14

Morsey says...

This relief road has passed it's sell by date, it is far too late, 25+ years, to even consider it as the access onto Bruce Street bridges would add to pressure time chaos and coupled to plans for the bridges area will not be worth the effort and expense. Throwing good money after bad.

The town is a serious transport ****-up and maybe a wall should be built to keep the North out ... picture Swindon's first civil war! We have been totally shafted over the years ... years ago the Tories told us the road would cost ten times as much per kilometre than a motorway of multiple lanes! One hundred million pound estimate has now shrunk to 60?
This relief road has passed it's sell by date, it is far too late, 25+ years, to even consider it as the access onto Bruce Street bridges would add to pressure time chaos and coupled to plans for the bridges area will not be worth the effort and expense. Throwing good money after bad. The town is a serious transport ****-up and maybe a wall should be built to keep the North out ... picture Swindon's first civil war! We have been totally shafted over the years ... years ago the Tories told us the road would cost ten times as much per kilometre than a motorway of multiple lanes! One hundred million pound estimate has now shrunk to 60? Morsey

10:36am Fri 31 Jan 14

Wildwestener says...

We have been well and truly stitched up here. Thank You Eric Pickles and George Osbourne
We have been well and truly stitched up here. Thank You Eric Pickles and George Osbourne Wildwestener

1:57pm Fri 31 Jan 14

house on the hill says...

Wildwestener wrote:
We have been well and truly stitched up here. Thank You Eric Pickles and George Osbourne
I think Eric Pickles ate the road, that's the problem!
[quote][p][bold]Wildwestener[/bold] wrote: We have been well and truly stitched up here. Thank You Eric Pickles and George Osbourne[/p][/quote]I think Eric Pickles ate the road, that's the problem! house on the hill

3:26pm Fri 31 Jan 14

Wildwestener says...

house on the hill wrote:
Wildwestener wrote:
We have been well and truly stitched up here. Thank You Eric Pickles and George Osbourne
I think Eric Pickles ate the road, that's the problem!
as a starter
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Wildwestener[/bold] wrote: We have been well and truly stitched up here. Thank You Eric Pickles and George Osbourne[/p][/quote]I think Eric Pickles ate the road, that's the problem![/p][/quote]as a starter Wildwestener

8:41pm Fri 31 Jan 14

1 2 Could B says...

I'm not sure if the way this town is "governed" is by methods involving corruption or just gross stupidity.
I'm not sure if the way this town is "governed" is by methods involving corruption or just gross stupidity. 1 2 Could B

9:11pm Fri 31 Jan 14

MrAngry says...

Tomdog wrote:
Very simple funding solution let the builders who are building the housing pay for the congestion caused. Problem solved easy.
Isn't this section 106 money is for?
[quote][p][bold]Tomdog[/bold] wrote: Very simple funding solution let the builders who are building the housing pay for the congestion caused. Problem solved easy.[/p][/quote]Isn't this section 106 money is for? MrAngry

12:03am Sat 1 Feb 14

Eastern Badger says...

MrAngry wrote:
Tomdog wrote:
Very simple funding solution let the builders who are building the housing pay for the congestion caused. Problem solved easy.
Isn't this section 106 money is for?
Section 106 money is what the developer pays to mitigate the effect of their development. Not the mistakes of the past nor the shortfalls in infrastructure investment of the local authority and Government. East Swindon is threatened with the same and the whole 'Local Plan' for Swindon has a £345m black hole after accounting for Section 106 money.
[quote][p][bold]MrAngry[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Tomdog[/bold] wrote: Very simple funding solution let the builders who are building the housing pay for the congestion caused. Problem solved easy.[/p][/quote]Isn't this section 106 money is for?[/p][/quote]Section 106 money is what the developer pays to mitigate the effect of their development. Not the mistakes of the past nor the shortfalls in infrastructure investment of the local authority and Government. East Swindon is threatened with the same and the whole 'Local Plan' for Swindon has a £345m black hole after accounting for Section 106 money. Eastern Badger

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