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I just wanted to let people know what is happening to the planet, so watch this space if you care!
Tunstall Northern Bypass News
News headlines:
Cost of Bypass rises to £5.1 Million


A reply from Bob Russel-Member of the Joint Committee in response to City News Article

Dear John,

I have to say that I do not recall being told that in December 1998 the City Council had offered an additional 13 acres of public open space. I would like to be shown where in the evidence we were told this.

As a journalist, and former editor of a weekly newspaper, I am also bound to observe that the "City News" article does not reflect what I believe were the views of the six Parliamentarians when we came to our conclusion.

I am interested to learn that the Press Complaints Commission has no jurisdiction over the "City News" because it is not registered as a newspaper. 1 have therefore Tabled a Parliamentary Question to the Deputy Prime Minister to suggest that local authority newspapers and newsletters should be given such a status so that in future an aggrieved resident can pursue matters with the Commission. That will not, of course, help you retrospectively.

I feel that the best advice I can give is that you make a formal complaint with the District Auditor on the basis that in your opinion the Council has used its newspaper to carry material which is untrue and for political purposes in contravention of the Local Government Act (not sure which one). You may care to seek independent legal advice before doing so.

Beyond this you will appreciate that I cannot comment further. Our deliberations and findings are somewhat akin to that of a jury in a court case.

Best wishes.

Bob Russel


The following Article recently appeared in a free newspaper published by the city council.

Council suggested solution in 1998

The long-awaited Tunstall Northern By-pass has been given the go-ahead.

A Parliamentary committee gave the approval subject to the provision of an additional 13 acres of public open space at Clanway.

The idea of the additional 13 acres of public open space was suggested by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to John Prescott, the Environment Secretary in December 1998.

The objectors were also informed of this proposal at that time and surprisingly, opposed the extra 13 acres suggestion.

Apparently they were more concerned with stopping the badly needed road rather than preserving the amount of the City's open space.

Despite this suggestion by the City Council Mr Prescott refused to authorise the exchange of land when he gave his decision in April 1999.

Instead he referred the matter to a special Parliamentary panel which spent more time looking at the proposals.

Leading Councillors now believe, therefore, that there was no need for any delay following the submission of our land exchange proposals in December 1998. In other words over a year (and quite a lot of money) has been wasted whilst Parliament came up with the same answer!

The final recommendations of the Parliamentary panel are exactly in line with the Council's own proposals first suggested in the Spring of 1998. A start on building the by-pass will be made later this year.

Hehehe can you believe it

Para 1 "bypass has been given the go-ahead…" The go-ahead is still dependent on the Secretary of State being satisfied that the extra land provided is "of such nature and in such location as to be suitable for the purposes of open space" (Amendment to the Order).

Para 4 "The objectors were also informed of this proposal at that time and surprisingly opposed the extra 13 acres suggestion." Fact: There is no uniform entity "the objectors". Various aspects of these proposals have been opposed by, for example, residents, traders, disabled activists, Friends of the Earth, Staffs. Wildlife Trust, the CPRE and many others. Of those who responded to the 'extra acres' proposal, none rejected them. What respondents did say, however, was that they endorsed the Inspector's conclusions (as did the Parliamentary Committee) of substantially increasing the quality and quantity of exchange land, and his suggestions as to how this deficiency might be overcome. In this respect, Ian Norris actually drew up a map to illustrate such a solution. What some objectors noted was that the 'extra acres' suggested by the Council did not appear in accordance with the law, i.e. this provision would not be in place when the road was started, and was likely to be many years away. Furthermore, such provision should be part of a future Section 106 provision, for future housing, and not part of the calculations before the Secretary of State.

Para 5 "Apparently, they were more concerned with stopping the badly needed road rather than preserving the amount of the City's open space." Who is responsible for this paragraph, which clearly denigrates objectors' integrity? Where is the evidence for this? Is this supposed fact or speculation, designed to cast aspersions? The conclusions of the Inspector, Secretary of State and Parliamentary Committee clearly vindicate the Section 19 objections that the Council was more concerned with pushing through this road, rather than providing quality open space.

Para 6 "Despite this suggestion by the City Council…" The Council's 'extra acres' suggestion, by law, had to be rejected by John Prescott. Indeed, the Special Procedure which was prompted by the Council's actions, was a procedure where the Council were asking to be above the law of the land.

Para 7 Who are these "leading Councillors", since the recommendations of the Independent Planning Inspector's Report were not put before a council committee? Ironically, there would not have been such a delay had the Council followed the Inspector's recommendations, instead of trying to reject his conclusions. Re: 'wasting time and money' - In a Section headed "The Cost of a Bureaucratic Blunder", The Parliamentary Committee's Special Report actually criticises the council for wasting considerable time and public money (Para 31).

Para 8 "spring 1998" - This contradicts the earlier chronology given as "December 1998". "a start on building the bypass will be made later this year" Permission is still dependent on satisfying the Secretary of State as outlined above (objectors have the right to challenge the decision in the High Court….) - and the funding gap still has to be resolved.

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