Bypass ruled out for eight years

THERE were angry scenes at a village hall when residents heckled planners over continued delays in building the Wing Bypass.

And many of them were angry at alternative ideas to building a Wing bypass, such as traffic calming and improved public transport.

South Beds Friends of the Earth organised the meeting to give local people an opportunity to hear a presentation of the report and ask questions of the author, Tom Cohen, of Steer Davis Gleave transport consultants.

But the alternatives were not well received and considered by many to be totally inadequate.

Among the audience were residents of settlements along the A418 and from villages that are affected by "rat running."

Residents from Rowsham, Wing Mill and Beirton, described their experiences with dangerous levels of traffic and concerns were expressed for the safety of children living on or near the A418.

FoE spokeswoman, Victoria Harvey said a "vocal minority" saw it as a chance to heckle Bucks County Council and FoE, which meant the opportunity to hear and question the experts was wasted and many people did not have a chance to have their questions answered.

The long-suffering villagers reacted with fury after they were stunned to hear that there would be no funding for the controversial road until at least 2016 - and maybe not even then.

MORE than 150 people packed into Wing Village Hall for a presentation on the controversial A418 improvement proposals.

The meeting was told that the full route of the A 418 improvements, costing 128 million, between the Wing Hill roundabout and the A41 South of Aylesbury will definitely not get funded before 2016, and there is only a small chance that they will be funded after 2016.

The 40,000 report, jointly funded by South Beds FoE and the county council, looked at how different packages of alternatives compared against the road scheme.

The objectives included alleviating the negative impact of the traffic passing through the settlements on the A418, stopping rat running, supporting the economy of Aylesbury, improving walking and cycling in and between the villages on the A418 and social inclusion.

Difficulties were cost, minimising CO2 emissions , preventing more traffic being generated, avoiding harm to other local communities and preserving landscape quality.

The report also looked at three packages of alternatives solutions – a modest package including a serious push to remove the school run, a mid-range scheme including huge improvements in buses, and an ambitious package which includes East West Rail.

Computer analysis showed that the road scheme came out lowest, said Miss Harvey.

Even if relieving the negative impact of traffic on the A418 communities was programmed in as far more important than everything else, the alternatives still come out better than the road scheme, she argued.

The county council will now do further work to evaluate the alternatives and look in detail at the effectiveness of them.

"The reality of the funding situation is that there definitely will not be any funding for a road for eight years minimum," said Miss Harvey.

"Many people said that they supported increased buses and a cycle bridge over the Linslade western bypass but there are not even any applications for funding these.

“The council’s general budget is already so stretched that there is no way of funding public transport unless a package of measures is pulled together and a bid is placed with central Government.

“What we want is Buckinghamshire to look for funding that will provide a cycle bridge, proper buses between Wing and Leighton Buzzard speed limits and many other things, so that people can have a realistic alternative to using their car for many of their journeys and we can have proper safety measures on the road that will save children's lives.”

If you were unable to visit the meeting the full report that was handed to the audience can be found on www. buckscc.gov.uk/A418improvements.

One Wing resident urged County Cllr Valerie Letheren to consider adding a 40-a-year levy to council tax in Bucks, specifically to pay for the bypass, which over 20 years would raise over 40million.

He told her by letter the next day that people had waited 30 years already and did not want to wait any longer.

“Please do your job. Make a choice, be it the blue route or the pink route.

“A bypass is sorely needed and is wanted by the vast majority of the local residents, as has been the case for decades.

“Our traffic-related difficulties have substantially worsened as a consequence of both the ever-increasing number of individual vehicles and the increase in the size and tonnage of the commercial traffic.

“Without the bypass that commercial traffic will continue to blight our homes and environment and it is only a matter of time before a death, or deaths, will result from any continuing failure to act.”

In addition he said that traffic slowing measures and pedestrian crossings must be provided because of “appalling rush hour traffic movements which include the regular mounting of our pavements by juggernauts.”

The Wing Players are presenting their Cinderella Pantomime this week and all should come along to the village hall to enjoy it.

Wing Players always put on a good show and it promises to be hilarious for all the family.

The times are 8pm on January 24 and 25 and at 2pm and 6pm on January 26.

To order tickets call (01296) 688729.