Been quite a day since the news broke at 6am that the City Council believed the tram would not be up and running until somewhere in the first half of 2015. There statement also compared it to the Edinburgh tram fiasco in a ‘hey, at least we’re not that bad’. I imagine a fair few disgruntled Beestonians would add ‘..yet’ to the end of that sentence.
I’m now going to stick my head above the parapet and make a confession. I support the tram. I quite look forward to it’s arrival. I like having a big chunk of centralised money dumped into the town’s infrastructure. It’s a greener, faster, more modern mode of transport that could give a welcome boost to the town.
Yet I find the whole construction a flawed, dishonest process. The decision to close Chilwell Road left a bad taste, so was sweetened with the promise that this would speed up the construction and reopen the road asap. That date has been put back several times, impacting on businesses immeasurably. Poor Mr Falafel: Fort Knox is easier to gain access to.
The construction contractors are still resolute of a December 14th finish, though I’ve heard off the record they don’t expect it to be fully running until 2015. While it’s important to stress that any revised date doesn’t mean the same volume of works will be seen round Beeston: roads will be reopened and pavements rebuilt pretty soon, but the boost traders would have had, particularly on Chilwell Road, in the run up to Christmas is now missed. This is something unlikely to be compensated on: after all, the works will have finished by then.
I’ve not been able to get through all the fall-out from this: Soubry has issued a statement demanding an emergency meeting with the City Council, but I’ve yet to examine that more, or any other political comment. It’s all broke at an awful time for me: I have the Beestonian deadline looming, the Oxjam Bake Off to help run, the Beestonian Movie at a critical stage and, well, I quite fancied watching a bit of tennis at some point. Rather bad timing.
And not just for me. For the second time in a week I’m putting myself in the same boat as David Cameron (it’s a rather grubby dinghy). He has just announced that he would fully endorse a Nottingham-Kimberly tram route when he was on his recent trip to the Borough. The Eastwood and Kimberly Advertiser led on this story today. Soubry’s previous opposition to trams seems to have totally flip-flopped on this one, seen as a bit of a vote winner. I’ve been contacted by Kimberley councillors today who are delighted by the news, possibly the first thing Cameron has ever said that has the local Labour party endorsing. Could it be that NET’s reluctance to admit to significant delays be related to this? If they were to confirm the estimates of both Broxtowe and City councils about the Beeston line, would it damage the PM’s endorsement and the strong likelihood of trams running up to our northern neighbours?
Interesting times. Please leave your thoughts and any news you have, and keep me from closing my laptop and sticking the tennis on.