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[13th May 2013]: NRR/BANES Exhibition - the same set of tired old stories with new personnel
Mon, 13 May 2013 09:33:00 +0100
On Wednesday 9 May, Radstock was treated to a display of the latest proposals for regeneration of the town - only problem was, they were just the same as usual.
The most noticeable aspect of the whole sorry event was that BANES employees were hugely outnumbered by a selection of 'consultants' many of whom had only a most elementary knowledge of Radstock. Also, they were not all singing from the same proverbial hymn sheet. Various explanations were given for why the new road was necessary. In answer to questions about whether a safety audit had been done, they appeared to have differing views. They could not provide clarity on the next stages in seeking planning permission - in fact there appeared to be differing views about whether or not a new application is required - even BANES thinks it is, so perhaps they should brief their consultants more effectively. No-one could explain how jobs would be created for the people who might live in any new homes. Nor could they answer suggestions that there are other places in the town to build homes, rather than destroying a piece of open public amenity land which could bring so much to the town. And, they had no answer to concerns that their proposals would block the reinstatement of the rail link to Frome. There was no acknowledgement of the flood risk in the town centre and along the proposed site.
Look at our artist's impression of how things will look outside the Victoria Hall if BANES goes ahead and builds a new road link right through the centre of town
Meanwhile, as the NRR and BANES stuck to the old formulas, Radstock Action Group has produced two 'artist's impressions' of how the Victoria Hall will be affected by the proposed new road, which will run in both directions and will feature bus stops outside the hall itself for journeys in both directions.
- Image 1 shows traffic including a truck which conforms to the weight limit which BANES says will be put on the road.
- Image 2 shows traffic including a truck which does NOT conform to the limit.
- Image 3 shows victoria Hall as it is today - no road.
BANES has failed to explain how they intend to enforce the weight restriction. That in itself is worrying enough but the impact on the Victoria Hall and local people's circulation within the town give additional cause for great concern:
- Heavy vehicles will be stuck in the traffic which will accumulate behind buses at the stop, where vibration, air and noise pollution will be high.
- Despite some crossing points, the area will be dominated by the increased heavy traffic which will also be flowing in both directions in The Street; this will not be a pedestrian friendly place for anyone wanting to shop, go to the doctor or the library, church or museum, whether on foot or using a wheelchair or a buggy.
Never too late for a rethink
There were a number of new drawings but no new ideas. But BANES will have to confirm its drawings are accurate - in the key one showing proposed layout, the two mini-roundabouts are not there - we await clarification. Have they been left off? If so, what other mistakes are there? Or are they being removed - in which case what will replace them?
A seriously disappointing event where, yet again, we learned that good planning practice isn't a priority for BANES when it comes to Radstock. But, as we pointed out to innumerable consultants, it's never too late for a rethink.
[7th May 2013]: RAG Litter Picking Performance - tripping the light fantastic round the Victoria Hall
Good News All Round
Tue, 07 May 2013 09:26:00 +0100
Last week BANES announced that dance will lead the way at the Victoria Hall, and on Sunday, friends and supporters of Radstock Action Group's Litter Pick were waltzing round the town with litter grabbers and bags - locations covered included Waterloo Road, the Miners Memorial Gardens, lower Frome Road, Victoria Hall, Tom Huyton Park and related pathways, Fortescue Road and The Street all nooks and crannies included, Coombend, Church Street, Lower Bath Old Road, Colliers Rise and Tamblyn Close. The steps round the Wheel were given a thorough going over. Eventually, three hours work could be found awaiting collection in a pile of rubbish bags .....
The afore-mentioned BANES announcement giving a a hint of what may be in store for the Victoria Hall looks like good news.
And it's certainly exciting news that Sue Hill's School of Dancing has central Radstock accommodation secured. The School is one of the many activities which draws people into town, alongside visitors to the Museum, cyclists and walkers and shoppers looking for a reliable and quirky selection of independent shops and services. Radstock has a well-established and growing community of arts practitioners and enthusiasts - and it sounds like the Victoria Hall will be encouraging even more, with dance leading the way. At last there will be facilities for meetings and other public events - in fact, many things that RAG and others have been calling for. Well done BANES.
More Answers Needed
But Radstock Action Group would like BANES Leader Councillor Crossley to give us a bit more information:
- Where can members of the public see the plans?
- How the Hall will be run - who will decide what goes on there? How will the local community be able to get involved in its day-to-day activities?
- What is the single member decision which is going to be made at the beginning of June?
- What measures are being put in place to make the Hall sustainable in economic terms?
- What is going to be done to compensate for the loss of the snooker facilities where young and old alike were able to get together for free and where there was no alcohol available, thus making it a suitable venue for the young members of the community who used it consistently?
Getting there - but still say 'No to the Road'
Perhaps some answers will be forthcoming at this week's exhibition about the latest round of proposals from BANES for the future of Radstock. Still persisting with the road is definitely not a good idea - the Victoria Hall will be subjected to two way traffic pounding past, shoppers and other visitors will have to negotiate main road conditions in their small scale shopping area, with noise and air pollution increasing. Sadly, it's back again - the need to repeat all the reasons why a different solution must be found. Imagine how the reinstated railway would boost all aspects of the town's regeneration - building over the railway land would be an act of irreversible madness.
And finally - a big round of applause for the litter pickers - thank you to everyone who turned out.
If you wish to financially support the work of the Group, please send a cheque, made payable to RADSTOCK ACTION GROUP, to Treasurer, Radstock Action Group, 8 Colliers Rise, Radstock BA3 3AU. (If you would like to receive a receipt, please include your name and address.)