Thursday, 16 July 2009

Polishing the turd

Posted on This is My Truth on 16th July

"My message to businesses and the wider community is that this Government is committed to reducing congestion and restoring capacity and reliability to this absolutely vital east-west corridor", Transport Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said yesterday.

A series of measures were announced by the Assembly Government to reduce demand on the M4 to compensate for the decision to abandon plans for a 'relief' road.

And yet today, outline planning permission was granted for a massive new 'International Business Park' four junctions along.

A 300 acre site - bigger than the Cribbs Causeway shopping centre in Bristol - will be built in countryside next to Junction 33 of the M4. Creating extra pressure on the M4 at the same time as new measures are announced to try and reduce it a few miles down the road.

It was driven by the old WDA and when that was merged into WAG the liabilities for the site and the commitments were taken into WAG. The economic development side pointed to the 'need' for a prestigious business park attracting HQs of major firms. The transport side pointed out the enormous traffic generation potential from a car-centric development on an already congested section of the motorway.

Local Authorities in the valleys fear investment will be sucked away from them, and the Vale of Glamorgan see the risk of repeating the errors plain to see at Culverhouse Cross.

Of course, there have been keen attempts to polish the turd.

A new "airport style regional transport hub" will result in up to 10 bus services an hour running through the site to Cardiff, with links to local railway stations.

Of course Park and Ride linked to a major bus interchange will be of value. But you don't need a massive business park with some 1,500 car parking spaces to achieve that.

A turd is still a turd.

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