The Abingdon Blog

The Abingdon Blog is a photo record of events and places in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, started on January 1st 2006.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

AbITs Public Meeting


Last night there was a public meeting at the Guildhall to listen to, and ask questions of the Councillor in charge of Oxfordshire's roads - and his advisers. The first phase of the new town centre traffic system (AbITS) was put in last year and people at the meeting, although polite, had very strong opinions. It has not worked as people were told it would during the public consultation, three years ago, when 64% of people were in favour of the scheme.

There was still a lot of animated discussion on the way out.

There were many points made during the meeting but to summarise for people who didn't go and who are interested: town centre businesses were suffering loss of trade, some journeys were taking much longer (coming home from Culham...), some turnings were difficult (out of West St Helen Street, right from the brewery, from New Street). In response the County Councillor said that, local councils (Vale and Town), and the chamber of commerce, and local people had agreed to the scheme. It was also said that more changes were to be discussed next week at the AbITs steering group: to get the SCOOT system working better (move Bridge Street lights nearer town), to put in better signage to get more people using the peripheral road and Stratton Way southbound, to introduce a straight-on filter at the Stratton Way / Ock Street junction, to discuss the details of changes to Stert Street, etc. etc. This meeting is on 28th June at 2 PM in the Guildhall.

5 Comments:

Blogger Simon Abingdon Uk said...

EXCESSIVE CHARGE NUMBER EC00100959
VEHICLE REGISTRATION NUMBER EG51HKV

Dear Mrs L Smart,

The above Excessive Charge has been imposed upon my employee Mr Gavin Erents; Gavin has made me aware of the full details and circumstances and I advised him to write to you; confident that you would recognise that the fine was unjust, unfair and ill considered.

I have now read your response to Gavin’s letter and have been provided with a detailed transcript of a subsequent meeting between Gavin and one of your team. I have also shared these details with associates and sought professional advice; just in case I was missing something; I even consulted with some Oxford Traffic Wardens with whom I socialise.

Suffice to say, all of those I have consulted, share my disappointment and sympathise with Gavin and his young family at being treated so shabbily, by an organisation tasked with working for the good of the community.

You apologise for what you say was a ‘misunderstanding’, in that your Warden maintains that she said “If she saw her (Gavin’s partner Kelly) in the car park going towards the flat she would allow her time to drop the twins off and return to the car, at no time did she say she would recognise the car registration.” So, as she did actually “See Kelly with the twins in the car park”; and indeed conversed with her, as she stuck the ticket to the windscreen, that only leaves the “direction in which she was walking” as being your grounds for ‘justification’.

So, we’re left with; the fine of £50.00 being justified, because the Warden stipulated that she must ‘observe’ the family making progress towards their flat. I assume that any other direction would result in a financial penalty.

I would like to make an observation on this important point upon which everything now hangs; it’s simply this. When the Warden witnessed the family returning from the flat to the car, with the children strapped into their car seats, did it not occur to her as it would to most people that the required direction had been, been recently adhered to?

As the Warden points out though, leniency (some would call it common sense or caring about the community) only comes into play “if she saw her in the car park going in the direction of the flat”. This is a good point and well made, in that, it is entirely possible that the family may have inadvertently moved sideways, or heaven forbid backwards on that journey; which would therefore have contravened, what I assume to be an integral part of traffic and seemingly (pedestrian) management policy in Abingdon. Kelly insists that she gave way to nothing and no-one and made every endeavour to comply with the ‘going toward the flat instruction’. The case remains that this was not witnessed by the Warden.

At this point, I began to fear the worse; that Gavin, Kelly and the twins had conspired to trample (in any direction) over Abingdon’s renowned traffic regulations and may have even contributed to the ‘teething problems of the wonderfully thought out and cost effective SCOOT system.

Something wasn’t right though; I took the liberty of surveying the ‘crime scene’. After much pondering, I made a vital discovery, which totally vindicates the Ock Street Four.

Although Kelly can only access the flat from the front entrance on Ock Street, when seen by the Warden; seemingly ‘deliberately going in the wrong direction’ (away from the flat) she in fact was going towards the flat, as the inaccessible rear entrance is directly opposite where the car was.

Joking apart, I and many others are disgusted at the way this has been handled, it is unjust, it is unfair and you have caused distress to law abiding community members who deserve better.

I would hope that common sense will now prevail and that you will apologise and rescind the £50.00 fine.

Yours sincerely


Simon Lonsdale

22 June 2007 22:06  
Blogger Simon Abingdon Uk said...

enibklIt would appear that the THREE MILLION POUNDS of OUR money spent on 'Traffic Calming' is having a knock on effect, in that scruples have been disguarded in an effort to finance this and no doubt future schemes in the pipeline. If I were one of the highly paid consultants employed by the Vale, I'd suggest traffic lights on the Thames, every 50 yards.
Just read the letter I felt compelled to send to the Vale; and bare in mind how upset it made the new mother and father, then maybe you'll share may anger.

Now this SCOOT traffic calming system; why do they have to name it? Is it because some idiot thinks that it'll make us believe it's tried and tested? Is it a method of devorcing, those who authorised and handed over our money, from full responsibillity? Probably all 3, is my guess.

Let's just examine the facts.
1. Abingdon had a traffic problem.
2. The problem was due to the fact that Abingdon has a natural barrier; it's known to us locals as the River Thames and to the VOWH's highly paid consultants, 'the blue bit'.
3. The previous traffic system, was sensibly designed, well thought out and allowed traffic to 'flow'.
4.It is true to say that, it was reaching capacity and required action.
5.Point 4. should not have come as a surprise to the Local Authority, they have at their disposal, not only past and current statistics, but predictions provided by Central Government. I have examined and analysed this data www.statistics.gov.uk/ and will publish my findings in due course.
6. I note that 64% of the public were 'in favour' of spending this money; I was one of the 36% who was against it; I gave my reasons, I never received a response. That does not amount to 'consultation', that amounts to 'hiding the 'against' box to the extent that a certain perecentage will not tick it, believing that thier protestations are enough. So, an inability to process statistics is no excuse.
7. In summary, our public servants have given away THREE MILLION POUNDS of OUR money and made matters worse; I as an employer would call that 'Gross Misconduct', worthy of instant dismissal.
8. A public meeting is all well and good, but if difficult, can be delayed, stage managed and reported with a slightly different slant! The power of the 'press' on a local level.
9. What's needed here is for those who 'care' about Abingdon to be much more vocal; not just to give the Council a hard time, but to remind them of a number of things: Such as.
A) We love our Abingdon.
B) It is Beautiful.
C) You work for us.
D) Start listenning; otherwise, we'll be forced to SHOUT!

22 June 2007 23:20  
Blogger back streeter said...

Simon, Thanks for all that. Presumably the parking fine went to appeal and was upheld so I'm not sure where to go from there. You could try your Vale district councillor to try to improve the process. All things parking are likely to change soon if the decriminalisation of perking happens, and they may have new rules. I've added more about my recollections of the public meeting at the end of the piece, but they are just my recollections . Just a couple of things extra said in the meeting. Cllr Robertson said that £1m was spent last year on the Town Centre Phase 1 scheme. It was money from central government. The meeting was called because Cllr Robertson couldn't make the annual parish meeting. It was only an exchange of views but could well influence the AbITs steering group on 28th June where real decisions will be made. The people at the meeting were very vocal.

23 June 2007 17:18  
Blogger Simon Abingdon Uk said...

Thanks for saying, 'thanks for all that'; couldn't track down your recollections of Abingdoinans being 'vocal' frankly find that hard to believe. This 'appeal' business; as far as I can tell, this amounts to some clerk, prefixing sentences with 'I sympathise with but', or 'Although we're obviously wrong, I have a duty to raise money, so'. As for local councillors etc, I've tried, no response; so I thought as I run a printing firm; I'll see if they'll come to me. We can do A0 size posters you know. although the VOWH outsource such work to a company in Birmingham...something to do with this Carbon Footprint malarky, obviously ours isn't big enough.

27 June 2007 04:07  
Blogger Simon Abingdon Uk said...

This Cllr Robertson? Is his first name Collin or Collin..r? Seems odd to call yourself CllR, I've tried saying CLLR out loud, but it just doesn't work; would Mr or ((Mrs) could be Collett..r)mind if I call him/her; DAVE?

Dave, seems somehow, much more 'in touch' than 'CLLR'; one could say, hey Dave, "This new traffic system must have come in handy". Whereas to CLLR Robertson, the same would read..."I say, is ones orfspring in the tarmac trade"?.

27 June 2007 04:17  

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