Rhubarb, rhubarb... the feed­back is clear

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOURVIEWS - >Mark Ed­wards >@PT Mark Ed­wards

You could be for­given for think­ing that the award of the con­tract for the re­place­ment of Rhubarb Bridge with level cross­ings was made as the public con­sul­ta­tion on the plans be­gan de­fies logic. But we are as­sured the public con­sul­ta­tion is a valid ex­er­cise and the council will lis­ten to the feed­back it gets. Given the works are ap­proved and, what­ever form they take Skan­ska will have the con­tract, it is still es­sen­tial that the city council lis­tens to the wishes of res­i­dents and sev­eral key bod­ies and re­acts to them - oth­er­wise the con­sul­ta­tion will have been a hol­low ex­er­cise. In the fiery de­bate on the scheme at this week’s scru­tiny com­mit­tee some of the things be­ing said did not con­vince cam­paign­ers that all the op­tions re­ally have been fully ex­plored. Si­mon Machen, council cor­po­rate director for growth and re­gen­er­a­tion, said the cost of funding a new bridge would be the same as two or three pri­mary schools but also added that no ap­praisal of op­tions other than the cur­rent scheme had been pre­pared be­cause no scru­tiny com­mit­tee had ever asked for one – so are we to as­sume the oner­ous cost of a new bridge is sim­ply a gues­ti­mate? Cllr Peter Hiller’s glib as­ser­tion in re­gard to the safety of pro­posed cross­ings, which would be sim­i­lar to the one in Bridge Street, that no­body had been ‘ploughed into’ in his mem­ory is com­pletely out of touch. There are real con­cerns about the safety of the Bridge Street cross­ing, there have been ac­ci­dents there and a con­cerned judge even wrote to the PT re­cently ex­press­ing his con­cern over the safety of the cross­ing. The re­place­ment for Rhubarb Bridge is an im­por­tant in­di­ca­tor of the city’s am­bi­tions in terms of sus­tain­able trans­port and the safety of the many peo­ple who need to cross an in­cred­i­bly busy junc­tion daily. The council has a dif­fi­cult job and the public purse is not bot­tom­less, but in terms of set­ting pri­or­i­ties the public feed­back on Rhubarb Bridge is very clear.

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