Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Why is Beechfields still unadopted (update 3)

I have just received a response to my Freedom of information request and the council are still arguing that it has not been adopted because they don't have the time and resources to adopt it. However, in another FOI request they stated that it could be done with 10 hours work.

Beechfields should have been adopted in 2001 after the work was carried out to bring it up to adoptable standards. It cost many tens of thousands of pounds to bring Beechfields up to adoptable standards in 2001 yet the council still argue that they can't find the money to pay for 10 hours work to finally adopt it.

In addition the play area and open space are still unadopted and people have been occupying houses since 2001 which they shouldn't have been doing until they were adopted.

Who does Cheshire West and Chester think they are kidding, everyone knows they can't adopt them because of legal difficulties, yet they still continue to peddle the same old bullshit.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Why is Beechfields and part of Rookery Rise still unadopted? Update (2)

Further to my original post and first update I have now had a response to another FOI request regarding the difficulty and cost of adopting a road that has been built to standards but has no adoption agreement.

My FOI request

1) I would like a copy of the procedure/documentation necessary for Cheshire West and Chester Council to adopt a road that has no section 38 adoption agreement attached to it but has been completed to adoptable standards.

2) I would also like to know the cost of adopting such a road in such a manner.

Council response

..for the purposes of this response, to be a reference to the provisions of Section 228 Highways Act 1980. Where those powers are invoked by the highway authority they are done so on a bespoke basis in relation to the relevant highway and in accordance with the requirements of and procedure set out in the Section.

The costs of adopting such a road in such a manner in an uncontested case would usually be modest and would arise from the officer time involved in the following elements:-

* Assessing from an engineering point of view that the works were to adoptable standard.
* Surveying/measuring the area for adoption and preparing a plan and description.
* Preparing a site notice and erecting a site notice on site and subsequently removing it together with related correspondence.
* Adding the site to the statutory list of streets and the internet gazetteer of maintainable streets.

In a straightforward case, such a procedure could be completed in an estimated total of, say, 10 hours by all officers involved but would be undertaken as and when other priorities permit...

As a result they have admitted that they could adopt Beechfields using Section 228 of the Highway Act without significant expense and just a few hours work by their highway staff. So whilst they are running out of excuses the $64,000 question remains, why is Beechfields still unadopted 8 years after it could have been adopted?

To get an answer to that conundrum I have submitted another FOI request.

I would like a copy of any and all information that would explain why the roads servicing Beechfields, Winsford remain unadopted.

They can no longer use time and money as an excuse as they have done in the past.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

The LGO, Highway Departments and blogs

Another citizen who is dissatisfied with Local Government Ombudsman has decided to blog about their experience.


The evidence against Local Government Ombudsmen just keeps on mounting.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The truth will out

I was advised by the new CEO of Cheshire West and Chester Council that the only reason why the roads on the estate have not been adopted is because of limited resource. However, that's just a load of bullsh*t, the real reason they haven't adopted the roads has nothing to do with a lack of resources but everything to do with a legal problem they have on the site. The same reason the play area and open space have also not been adopted by the council. I am aware from my research that the costs involved in adopting a road that has been completed to adoptable standards is minimal. As a result I have submitted a Freedom of Information request to identify why Cheshire West and Chester Council think otherwise.

1) I would like a copy of the procedure/documentation necessary for Cheshire West and Chester Council to adopt a road that has no section 38 adoption agreement attached to it but has been completed to adoptable standards.

2) I would also like to know the cost of adopting such a road in such a manner.

Vale Royal Borough Council promised the Local Government Ombudsman in 1998 that this road would be adopted. So much for a council's word to a Local Government Ombudsman and so much for the validation of a council's promise by a Local Government Ombudsman.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Beechfield and part of Rookery Rise still unadopted

Beechfields and part of Rookery Rise still remain unadopted 8 years after being completed to adoptable standards. The Council can offer no reasonable explanation other than they don't have the resources to adopt it.

The play area and open space between Pinetree and Linwood still remain in the Developers hands 8 years after they should have been handed over to the Council. Again the Council can offer no reasonable explanation other than the rather ridiculous excuse that they would need a public consultation to see if a play area is wanted.

Rather stupid when you realise that the Developer only got planning permission on the understanding that they would provide a play area & open space and hand it over to the Council before some of the houses on Linwood were occupied. All the houses on Linwood were sold and occupied in 2001.

The bottom line is that there is a legal problem that the Council don't want anyone to know about so they play silly games in an attempt to stop the truth coming out.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Why is Beechfields and part of Rookery Rise still unadopted? Update

Further to my earlier post on the subject I have now had a response to my Freedom of Information request.

Cheshire West and Chester Council curiously state they hold no information as to why the roads serving the Beechfields estate were not adopted from the western end at the same time that the roads on the Barratt contructed Linwood/FirTree estate were adopted. After all both developments were completed at the same time (2001). However, whilst the Linwood/Firtee estate have been adopted the Beechfields estate remain unadopted.

In addition they still haven't given a ratonal explantion as to why the play area and open space on the Linwood/Firtree development remain unadopted.

As I stated before there is something funny going on with Rookery Rise and the council should tell the residents what's going on.

There suggestion that scarce resources were diverted in order to bring phase one up to adoptable standards is ludicrous. The have wasted more time and resources over the last 19 years trying to bodge the road than they would have in doing a proper job. Just a shame Cheshire West and Chester appear to be following in the footsteps of Vale Royal Borough Council and Cheshire County Council as far as spin and misdirection is concerned.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Why is Beechfields and part of Rookery Rise still unadopted?

I submitted a Freedom of Information request to find out why part of Rookery Rise including Beechfields remains unadopted.

'Beechfields has remained unadopted due to the intermediate sections of road linking it to the main adopted road network being subject to separate phased adoption agreements with the Authority. No Highway Authority will adopt a road in isolation from the main adopted network and the adoption of these lengths of street under separate phased road Agreements has therefore had to take place in a progressive sequential manner.

On a development the size of Rookery Rise the completion of the individual phases by the respective developer/s can take sometime to complete prior to the next phase being released for further development.

Usually, the speed of construction operations to finish off the individual phases is beyond the control of the Authority and is directly governed by economic conditions and/or the developer's own build programme.

In this instance the developer initially made normal progress with the construction of the first phase of Rookery Rise. However, some time ago it became apparent that the developer's progress on site had started to slow due to financial difficulties. This ultimately lead to the receiver being called in and, finally the developer company going into liquidation. Ultimately, as you are aware, the highway authority carried out the works to bring that part of Rookery Rise up to adoption standard.' [Full response] Note: Vale Royal Borough Council allowed the developer to complete phase two (Beechfields) without a road adoption agreement at all, even though the developer was in breach of the road adoption agreement for phase one (Greenfields).

This response totally ignores the fact that Barratt completed Rookery Rise to the west of Beechfields during 2001 and this was subsequently adopted by Cheshire County Council. Therefore, the question that remains unanswered is why was phase 2 not adopted from the west?

As a result I submitted a follow up question to my Freedom of Information request.

'Thank you for your response. In your response you essentially state that phase 2 couldn't be adopted until phase 1 was adopted because of the need to connect phase 2 to an adopted road before it could be adopted. Please provide a copy of any information documents that would explain why Phase 2 was not adopted in 2001 when at that time (or shortly afterwards) phase 2 was connected to the adopted western part of Rookery Rise.'

I am aware that the adoption of the Barratt part of Rookery Rise was delayed and wasn't adopted until early 2005, however, phase two has remained unadopted nearly 5 years longer than necessary. In addition the open space and play area on the Barratt part of the development are still unadopted.

There is something funny going on with this development and I intend to get to the bottom of it!

Here is an example of what I mean. I wanted to confirm the status of Rookery Rise between Firtree and Linwood but the adopted road gazetteer has the following disclaimer, 'It does not however constitute a definitive statement as to the status of any particular highway'. You can obtain a definitive statement if you are willing to pay so I decided to pay Cheshire County Council for a definitive statement as to the adoption status of the road in question. When I received the so called definitive statement it included the same disclaimer as the adopted road gazetteer. Effectively a none definitive definitive statement. Accordingly I ask Cheshire County Council to either supply the definitive statement I had paid for or return my money. They returned my money, which speaks volumes about the true status of the road in question and their ability to tell the truth.

And here's another example. The road on phase one was redesigned without planning approval but when I submitted a complaint to the planning enforcement officer (Vale Royal Borough Council) he stated that Cheshire County Council didn't need planning permission because the road in question was adopted. Why did they need to redesign the road? Because it was unadopted and they wanted to adopt it! Which they later did. Therefore, the planning enforcement officer had clearly lied to me when he stated the highway was adopted.

So Rookery Rise is adopted when the Council need it to be adopted and unadopted when they need it to be unadopted. Will Cheshire West and Chester Council (the unitary council replacing Vale Royal Brough Council and Cheshire County Council) keep on playing games? It certainly looks like it up to now!

Buses using Rookery Rise Update.

I received a response to my Freedom of Information Request about buses using Rookery Rise.

Rookery Rise is not being used regularly and in fact was only used for a temporary diversion. At the time of receiving your email, the normal route along Station Road had resumed. [Full response]

The reason for the bypass not being used, was that by using Rookery Rise, 2 stops on Station Rd remained in use. Had the bus operated along the bypass, it would have been unable to serve anyone requiring the bus between Winsford Station and the main town roundabout.

I'm sure you can appreciate that the intention with any road diversion is to inconvenience as few people as possible. [Full response]

Unfortunately buses are still using Rookery Rise so I had to submit another Freedom of Information request to identify the reason.

I would like to know why buses are still using Rookery Rise in spite of assurances that they were not.

'Late afternoon today, the 6th August, the same day I received an assurance from the council that buses were no longer using Rookery Rise, because the roadworks had been completed, a bus was seen travelling in an easterly direction along Rookery Rise towards Station Road and then turning right towards the Railway Station. (I am aware that the roadworks had been completed by the 4th because actually drove down Station Road to check.) Therefore, my latest question is why are buses still using Rookery Rise?'

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Complaint submitted about buses using Rookery Rise

I note that another resident concerned with safety further down Rookery Rise has submitted a complaint via the Fix My Street website.
"Rookery is now being used as a rat run for buses from Station road. Rookery Rise does not meet the requirements for buses due to the road width being too small in the bends. The current road width is 6.75m, this needs widening on bends with a radius of 60m or less. this is not possible to do whilst keeping a 1.8m footpath.
Also the design requirements for bus routes states that the road must allow two 12m buses to pass each other down the road, due to the design of the road this is not possible in several locations.
Also the road has residential property facing the road with direct access to the property, again this is not allow for roads designed for bus routes."
Message for Cheshire West and Chester Council, it wasn't me, which proves there are other residents concerned over the safety of Rookery Rise.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Buses using Rookery Rise (Update)

As can be seen in earlier post of mine

'A carriageway width of 6.75 metres is required. Long straight roads which encourages higher traffic speeds and are visually monotonous, are not acceptable and a flowing alignment of curves is preferred with a minimum centre line radius of 60 metres. Lane widening is required on bends and if a bus router should be bus bays at every stop, designed in accordance with the recommendations in “Roads in Urban Areas”.'

NOTE: and if a bus router should be bus bays at every stop, designed in accordance with the recommendations in “Roads in Urban Areas”.'

Whilst what we actually have in the vicinity of my property is a highway with no lane widening on the bend, no proper cross fall on the bend, no level footway on the outside bend of the road, no bus bays and double decker buses frequently using the road. Another Council cock up!

And if that's not bad enough part of Rookery Rise which the double decker buses are using is still unadopted.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Buses now using Rookery Rise

If things weren't bad enough, no adequate lane widening, cross fall or footpath on the bend in the vicinity of my property buses are now using Rookery Rise instead of Station Road. Here is a Freedom of Information request to find out if the council has given permission for buses to use Rookery Rise (sorry about the typo) in spite of part of it still being un-adopted.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Freedom of Information (Update)

I have at last received a response to my Freedom of Information request. It confirms what I have always known, that the Local Government Ombudsman's office lied to me during their investigation into my complaint. More LGO lies will be exposed in due course.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Freedom of Information

I have just submitted the following FOI request to Cheshire West and Cheshire Council in an attempt to find out why part of Rookery Rise remains unadopted 8 years after being completed.

"Please supply a copy of any and all information held that will explain why part of Rookery Rise, Winsford remains unadopted some 8 years after being completed. The part in question leads to Beechfields, Winsford Cheshire, which also remains unadopted."

The Local Government Ombudsman's office at York told me it was adopted last year. Liars!

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Another Accident

Another accident occurred this last week. Luckily for Cheshire West and Chester Council, like the first accident, no one was seriously injured. However, it's going to happen one day. Cheshire County Council gambled when they bodged the road below normally acceptable standards and they will have to pay the price if their gamble causes the serious injury of a pedestrian or motorist. Time will tell. Thankfully the new corporate manslaughter bill is now in full force.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

A pyrrhic victory at Cheshire County Council taxpayers expense.

Some 10 years ago the council could have completed the highway to fully adoptable and safe standards by way of a simple and cheap amicable agreement with me. However, a solicitor stated they wouldn't do that because Cheshire County Council didn't have any money and wanted a 'zero cost' solution. However over the next 10 years Cheshire County Council proceeded to spend significantly more taxpayers money trying to obtain their 'so called' zero cost option than it would have cost to amicable resolve the situation in 1999. So who are the winners and losers.

The losers
  1. Local taxpayer have obviously lost because it has cost them substantially more money over the last ten years trying to complete the highway than it would have cost to resolve the problem 10 years ago.
  2. Local residents have lost because the adoption of the highway was delayed by an unnecessary extra 10 years.
  3. Road uses have lost because Cheshire County Council had to bodge the road in order to get it adopted.
The winners.
  1. There appears to be only one winner in all this and that's the legal department at Cheshire County Council. In a sort of perverse job creation program they have managed to keep themselves in work trying to resolve a problem that could have been resolved 10 years earlier for a lot less money.
So it would appear that it's not in the interest of Cheshire County Councils legal department to settle a problem because, whilst it remains unresolved, they are kept in work. I wonder how many other unresolved cases there are in Cheshire that could have been resolved years ago by the simple application of common sense and the application of cost benefit analysis? Cheshire County Council obviously don't understand cost benefit analysis so hundreds of thousand of pounds of taxpayers money could be wasted by their legal department every year.

Hence the title of this post: Pyrrhic, of or relating to or resembling Pyrrhus or his exploits (especially his sustaining staggering losses in order to defeat the Romans); "a Pyrrhic victory"

Ironically Cheshire County Council had another chance to resolve the problem once and for all when they recently asked me to accepts works on my land so they could finish the highway to fully adoptable standards. Unfortunately once again they refused to offer any compensation so I declined. The net result is the bodge today and even more work for the Cheshire County Council's legal (job creation) department and more cost for Cheshire County Council taxpayers.

Let's all hope that when Cheshire West and Chester Unitary Authority take over in April they do something about this significant waste of taxpayers money. All it takes is just one
intransigent solicitor in their legal department who is more concerned with winning at any cost than resolving problems as cheaply as possible for the taxpayer.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

First accident!

The first accident happened recently, or at least the first one I am aware of. A youth on a bicycle fell on the crossing. Luckily for him, and Cheshire County Council, he was young and fit enough to shrug the whole incident off. I think he must have been using the undulating pavement in the vicinity of my property as a sort of BMX track because before I could have a word with him, he jumped on his bike and was off like a rocket. However, the next person may not be so lucky.