Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Spending Your Money

How difficult is it to spend £10K of tax-payers' money? Easy do I hear you say? You'd be wrong, so wrong. This evening I chaired a meeting of the Western Area Transport Strategy Steering Group which met to discuss allocation of £25000 to projects in the Western Area which would improve road safety or traffic flow or otherwise improve highways. At the last meeting 4 items had been identified as worthy of further investigation. Tonight we heard the results of those investigations:
Changes to the sequencing of pelican crossing lights in Yarm High Street probably wouldn't achieve any improvement so no money to be spent there.
Dropped kerbs in Station Rd, Eaglescliffe to facilitate the route from Yarm Road to the station and the shops - cheaper than expected at £2300
Improvements to the bus stop and footpath on Durham Lane - £9000
Gateway improvements on Long Newton Lane - cheaper than expected because no vehicle activated signs are allowed on there.
Result - we can have the three schemes but we still have £10500 to spend. Three further ideas had been suggested but two of them weren't supported by evidence of need or by the ward councillor! So, still £6500 to spend. Eventually we'd exhausted all the ideas in the room and still not spent it so as a result the engineers have 3 pages of questions to investigate before e-mailing round the answers for us to decide whether to spend more on Station Road to make a real gateway to the station or to have a study done of the possibility of fitting in a pedestrian crossing on Urlay Nook Road or to replace a bus shelter if anyone knows of one that's needed. Almost 2 hours spent and at the end still not a final decision. It's sad that land ownership issues stop us doing some of the things we know residents would really like and that earmarking for transport issues means we can't spend it on facilities for getting young people away from areas where they cause a problem with their footballs.
Still, can't have everything and at least we'll get the new bus stop on Durham Lane at last.

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