It’s time to release data from survey
AT the end of this year, a decision will be made on the long-running Boots Corner trial. Councillors will decide whether it should be made permanent or scrapped.
My views on this are well known. I think this flawed trial has already gone on too long, and has caused too much harm. It has gobbled up more than £1.4m of local taxpayers’ money, including around £20,000 on astroturf and bike racks. And motorists have been clobbered with 48,000 tickets, totalling more than £1.3m in fines in just nine months. So many people have written to me saying they’ve been put off visiting Cheltenham.
There’s never been any credible argument to justify the massive cost and disruption. The air pollution argument was always bogus, as Boots Corner is not listed as one of Cheltenham’s four sites which breach nitrogen dioxide limits. And no air monitoring machine was ever installed there anyway, so we’ll never know the before and after data.
It literally is the solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.
Meanwhile the scheme is pushing traffic, and therefore air pollution, into neighbouring residential neighbourhoods.
But what about the impact of all this on local businesses? Cheltenham’s Business Improvement District, which is doing good work to promote our town, has surveyed hundreds of local businesses for their views with detailed questions about the effect it has had on everything from footfall to turnover. But so far, despite requests, those results are not being made public.
That’s not right. Local taxpayers have the right to know what the impact of this scheme has been on businesses.
They should be given the information they need to allow them to reach a fair assessment of whether their money has been well spent.
That’s particularly important when the council is proposing to plough yet more public money into the scheme.
Sunlight is the best disinfectant. The survey data should be released.