Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group
 
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Press Release - 06 October 2006

Lincolnshire County Council is in breach of the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Lincolnshire County Council has confirmed to the Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group that it is now in breach of the legislation under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which states that the Council must reply within 20 working days (unless additional time is required to apply the public interest test in the event that an exemption is applied to the disclosure).

Robert Fisher had written to the Council on 6 September 2006, requesting the following information:

A copy of the Contract between Jacobs Babtie and LCC, to confirm firstly the total cost of the recent Boston Transport Study (including the additional "rat runs" that were added later) and secondly what restrictions/limitations had been decided upon and imposed by Lincolnshire County Council and by whom specifically. Our letter to Elaine Turner of 6 August 2006 refers: Link

We received by return an acknowledgement from the Council as follows:

Thank you for your recent request for information received by this office on 6th September 2006. Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your request is being handled by the Development Directorate. We will aim to respond to your request, notifying you whether or not the information requested is held by Lincolnshire County Council and communicating that information to you (provided that the information is not exempt under the terms of the Act), within 20 working days (3rd October 2006).

On 3 October 2006, the following email was received from the Information Compliance Officer:

I write to inform you that I have been notified by the Technical Services Partnership (the department handling your request) that unfortunately the information will not be ready to be sent today as previously stated in my e-mail to you of 6th September 2006. You will be aware that this puts us in breach of the legislation under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which states that we must reply within 20 working days (unless additional time is required to apply the public interest test in the event that an exemption is applied to the disclosure). Unfortunately I have not been provided with an explanation for the delay from the Technical Services Partnership, nor have I been provided with an estimate of when the information will be ready. I can only extend my sincere apologies for the delay and to thank you for your patience. I will make every effect to attempt to send a response to you by the end of this week when I shall contact you again in any event to provide an update. My apologies once again.

The BBEG can now state that this press release is being made after 5pm on 6 October 2006 and we can confirm that Lincolnshire County Council are still in breach of the legislation under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as we have not received the information requested.

We would therefore like to draw attention to two letters written by Robert Fisher and Michael Borrill respectively to Richard Wills and David Woods last year (relevant parts reproduced below) and confirm that we have passed this information onto the Local Government Ombudsman investigating our group's Formal Complaint.

Boston Bypass & Economic Growth Pressure Group (BBEG)
www.bbeg.org.uk
06 October 2006


FLASHBACK: Letter to Richard Wills from Robert Fisher dated 29 June 2005

Dear Mr Wills

Thank you for your reply to my email dated 29 June 2005.

Lincolnshire County Council have commenced the transport study without any consultation ... We are included in a wider reference group but are intrigued that the criteria used for this survey has not been discussed with stakeholders/reference group prior to the surveys commencement!? Indeed we made a press release on 10 June 2005 stating that Richard Austin would be ensuring that the traffic survey takes into account the key factors identified ... You seem to have totally ignored our requests once again. Mike Borrill is putting together a more detailed response to your Stakeholder Reference Group document, in which you state that there will be no initial consultation with the public as you all "have a good knowledge of the current problems and issues in Boston"! The fact that I (Robert Fisher) collected a post card at the traffic survey on Spalding Road yesterday suggests that the survey is once again purely based on post codes and confirms the fact that you do not have that good a knowledge of the issues in Boston. To hear former Cllr Dick Edginton recently state on live television when asked why there are so many accidents on Lincolnshire's roads that he "doesn't really know" does not fill us with confidence. The fact that you continue to press ahead with your traffic survey based on outdated data or data/models from other parts of the UK that bear no resemblance to Boston's unique situation concerns us greatly.

We recently wrote to Elaine Turner (13 June 2005) requesting an urgent meeting to discuss our involvement in the Stakeholders Group. This has been ignored completely.

Your email highlights to us that not only have the people of Boston suffered and had to endure for years a lack of progress on a decent road structure partly because of party politics, but also it would seem because of conflict between Boston Borough Council and Lincolnshire County Council. Your last point asks, "Why would someone in the East Midlands or Westminster take a decision to invest in Boston? We need to come up with a convincing answer to that question. I believe part of the response must be to identify how Boston can contribute to Lincolnshire, the East Midlands and the UK once its own problems are resolved". Let us ask you if other towns in Lincolnshire have had to justify their own importance to gain a bypass - Partney, Wrangle, Lincoln, Benington, etc.? You state that you would be very pleased to hear our views - we would request an urgent meeting with you to discuss this, as we have so far been ignored by both Boston Borough Council and Lincolnshire County Council. Unless the criteria used for this survey accurately reflects the traffic situation in Boston, the results will have no validity whatsoever.

Yours sincerely

Robert Fisher
29 June 2005


FLASHBACK: Letter to David Woods from Michael Borrill dated 4 July 2005

Dear Mr Woods

We have received your letter of the 21st June outlining the various stages of the consultation process and hope that when the Study has been completed a satisfactory outcome will be achieved to overcome the problems of congestion and flow of traffic through Boston and the surrounding area.

We do, of course, realise that you have to take all things into consideration when completing this Study and as you so rightly say, the limited crossing points over the Rivers and drains is one of the key issues. Traffic going from one side of Boston to the other has to be funnelled mainly across the Haven Bridge. Movements of vehicles in this category should not be discounted as in the past.

Whilst we recognise the issues outlined in this brief are only a synopsis of the full brief, we look forward to reading the full brief in due course.

Having said this, we are now totally dismayed to find from your letter, and from various sites in the Town, that the Census and Data Collection has already commenced. This is after we were assured that we would be involved in any discussion prior to implementation of the Study.

A letter was sent to Elaine turner on the 13th June requesting a meeting to discuss our involvement with Lincolnshire County Council and we have only today had the courtesy of a reply. Needless to say we are disappointed that no meeting is to be held with us other than that of the Stakeholder Reference Group.

The following points come to mind with your Study:

1. The cards being distributed to motorists are explicit in requiring a postcode. This (postcode) system was used in previous census and gives a false picture. Why is it being used again when as aforementioned, the problem with Boston is the River crossings, which form a “divide” in the Town.

2 The map 1.5, shows a 3km radius of Boston but this does not include the “rat runs” of Hubberts Bridge/ Punchbowl Lane etc. to the South and Gipsey Bridge, Langrick and Brothertoft from the North.

3. We are concerned about the use of an existing data model. Boston is a unique situation and using practice from other areas will not give a true picture in relation to Boston.

4. Is the data collected to include tail backs, number of vehicles, congestion (how long vehicles stopped for) and time of day.

5. Your Background issues (1.4) should also include: -
vibration and noise, journey times, stress and disruption of appointments.

6. We are now living in a 24/7 society and wonder why the study is mainly confined to weekdays in the Spring and summer months.


Those are just a few of the points which we would have discussed but it appears that Lincolnshire County Council has still not learnt the meaning of “consultation” which was highlighted in the recent Corporate Governance Inspection Report:

“It has a weak corporate approach to consultation and communication with the public and also a reluctance to work in genuine partnership with other organisations across the area”.

If this Transport Study is found to be flawed in how it is applied to Boston then I am sure questions will be asked as to why this was allowed to happen and by whom. Taxpayers money is involved here, a large amount, and let us hope that this is not wasted by invalid data being applied.

Yours sincerely

Michael Borrill
04 July 2005

 

 

BBEG Meet MP
The BBEG have met with Mark Simmonds MP.
BBEG meet with Mark Simmonds MP
BBEG Chairman Robert Fisher states: "It was a very revealing meeting, and it also gave us the chance to reaffirm our group's stance that a bit-part solution will not be acceptable - we do not want to be passed off with another John Adams Way by widening existing roads - the only solution is the provision of a decent road infrastructure around the town."
29 September 2006
Read the full report...


In The News (June)
The BBEG's comments appeared in the Boston Target in June under the headline "Roads study on its way (like the town traffic, it's been held up)".

The BBEG stated, "At the public meeting held in November 2004 about Boston's dire traffic situation, one of the most over-whelming comments made by the public was that something needed to be done about the number of traffic lights in the town. Richard Wills later stated at the meeting with the Leaders of both Councils that, "he knows best" and "the traffic lights are here to stay". How can one such individual have so much authority in the County and make such a final statement?".
28 June 2006
Read the article ...