Have your millions invested into Coventry and other parts of the W Mids contributed to the transport £171.1 m overspending and "eye-watering ... substantial financial breach" of your own regulations? And what, exactly, does an affordable home look like? Solar, v energy efficient?
Saturday, 31 December 2022
Thursday, 22 December 2022
Dear Colin and Coventry friends
NOT QUITE THE WAY TO BUILD A MORE SOCIALLY JUST AND SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY!
Dear Colin and Coventry friends - who must all stand up to Brum that gets its way in continuing to destroy the UK's last, supposedly safeguarded, 120 Kms Black Country Mainline railway between Worcester and Derby.
AND A REPLY, PLEASE FROM EITHER COLIN OR GEORGE (preferably both) WOULD BE WONDERFUL!
At a time of more people suffering poverty than we have probably seen for 70 years, our government of the people, for the people by the people, is splashing out on the most monumentally expensive High Scam 2; £15 billion for eight lines and 150 miles of trams replacing or duplicating buses as passenger numbers have fallen; and, Sprint buses going on routes already blessed with Platinum buses and trains and, next, trams planned to come out to Solihull from Brum city centre, too!
Just one extravagant transport project is well over half a billion pounds for 10.7 Kms of tramlines, with most of that on and breaking up the 120 Kms Black Country Railway "of national strategic significance" between Worcester and Derby.
Our truly sick, unsustainable society is letting the poor go to the wall as more of them become dependent on food banks and more have difficulty paying food and energy bills. It is immoral and foolish to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money on replacing buses and trains with light rail trams, very light rail trams and ultra light rail trams. Give the money to the poor or, at least, give them Fare-Free Public Transport (FFPT) that I've had for nearly 15 years rather than wasting it on destroying yet more of our urban railway network.
There are very much more responsible and socially just and obvious ways to get car commuters to leave their precious vehicles at home and commute by bus, train and tram. Such as that contained here:
High Scam 2 is a fraudulent project when the thing has to go so fast through little ol' England it can only stop, outside of London at two airport stations before terminating in Manchester. Only some trains will call at Curzon St and Crewe. Yet, the misleading, dishonest website makes one think that every other city will somehow benefit, too!
All the intercity stations like Coventry that will be bypassed by High Scam 2 will see no improvement and, quite likely, a poorer service with fewer intercity trains.
With best wishes
from Adam Tranter
- The route is now in the right strategy documents to secure future funding
- Some parts of the route are being prioritised for progression
- Others parts are earmarked for funding bids in medium-term
- A funding bid for minor improvements has gone in to Heritage Lottery Fund
- An NCN number would not add value, but confusion
Cycling & Walking Commissioner
Monday, 19 December 2022
to Mike Bird on opposing Metro extensions
Dear Cllr Mike,
Financial Scandal at WMCA as the poor suffer for the CA's greedy, selfish and luxurious expenditure
WMCA is in a financial hole because of overspending on transport projects, especially Metro
EXTRACT FROM CAPITAL PRESSURES REPORT presented to the WMCA Board on 16 December 2022:
"4.2 The total value of the immediate and early warning matters equates to £171.1m. It is expected this maximum exposure can be mitigated to £85.9m subject to the effectiveness of specific mitigations WMCA intend to deploy.
"4.3 The sums outlined above excludes the costs to address the Dudley to Brierley Hill element of the Wednesbury to Brierley Hill Metro extension which will be the subject of a specific report in the February’s WMCA Board. This report will address the funding position for the Extension following an earlier report which agreed a number of funding options which would be pursued to support this scheme’s delivery in full. Once the Board has determined its preferred way forward for this scheme and further work is completed on the early warnings a fuller picture of total financial pressures can be presented."
The "fuller picture of total financial pressures" on suspended transport projects might amount to hundreds of millions of pounds. Perhaps, double the £171.1 m, above.
WMCA is in a financial hole because of overspending on the most grossly extravagant, wholly unnecessary Metro tram projects to entice car commuters out of their motors and onto public transport like trams to replace/duplicate buses and trains.
During more than forty years of work on a 200 Kms Metro tram network they have succeeded in destroying two mainline railways and, two and a quarter mainline stations. The quarter is platform 4 at Snow Hill that cannot be used because this former mainline between Brum and Shrewsbury was turned into a tram line! This first incompetent, idiocy runs from Snow Hill station to Wolverhampton St George's Square. Not even to the bus station, would you believe, let alone to Low Level station that is now a conference and events centre! The tram opened in 1999. One wisecracker perceptively called it "a solution looking for a problem".
The second official insanity is the railway "of national strategic significance" that is the 120 Kms Black Country Railway between Worcester and Derby which is being broken up into heavy rail at either end, with light rail and very light rail in the middle!
If our top politicians had returned these two mainlines for use by commuter, regional and intercity trains that had been so successful for 100 years, there would not be what one prominent member of the Board called on the 16 December:
"eye watering ... substantial financial breach" of their own regulations!
Sunday, 18 December 2022
Our incompetent politicians, senior officers and trade union/faith leaders
The official leaflet showing the grossly extravagant, financially irresponsible and totally unnecessary scheme:
"£171.1 million eye watering substantial financial breach"
Thanks, Chris. I certainly don't understand high finance. Way over my head!
Once upon a time, one railway union boss wanted to help the nurses!
Thursday, 15 December 2022
WMCA Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Hi Cathy - and copied to Laura Shoaf to correct any inadvertent misrepresentation, here.
Wednesday, 14 December 2022
Where, exactly is the contradiction? We are ALL united!
How does withdrawing support for High Scam 2 (dishonest claims eg, outside of London it stops at only two airports, with only some trains stopping at Brum and Crewe!), Metro and Sprint extensions contradict 'Action Point 8: Pause Tram Development' that says
Tuesday, 13 December 2022
written Oct 2016 re Jeremy Corbyn
Because of Scotland, they cannot hope to win under any leader, so they might just as well have a leader that is "decent, honest and principled", as everyone says he is.
7 S's for a less sick, selfish, unsustainable society!
For our discussion tomorrow evening, please. I want feedback - criticism or support - not apathy/acquiescence/boring! Tim
- SOLAR powered, highly energy efficient apartments at Smallbrook Queensway and 23,000 sq m High Plateau at Merry Hill.
- SUPPORT John Christophers' proposal for the 1960s concrete arc of shops,offices and homes.
- SCRAP wasteful multi-modal public transport of heavy rail, light rail and very light rail (HR, LR, VLR).
- STICK to TRAINS returning to the 120 Kms Black Country Mainline Railway, Kings Heath/Moseley Railway, Sutton Park Railway.
- STOP extensions to HS2, Metro and Sprint.
- START the 2 year experiment on Hagley Road of nearside bus lane, Fare-Free Public Transport, green lights for every approaching bus and ROAD PRICING penalty for thoughtless car commuters.
- STRENGTHEN CAZ to take in more thoughtless car commuters who must use bus/train/tram to commute.
to Bob Sleigh - Our truly sick, unsustainable, selfish society
Our truly sick, unsustainable, selfish society is letting the poor go to the wall as more of them become dependent on food banks and more have difficulty paying food and energy bills. It is immoral and foolish to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayers' money on replacing buses and trains with light rail trams, very light rail trams and ultra light rail trams. Give the money to the poor or, at least give them FFPT (that I've had for nearly 15 years) rather than wasting it on destroying yet more of our railway network.
Monday, 12 December 2022
The non contradiction
Thanks for drawing the contradiction to my attention. It is all about priorities. For over 40 years the emphasis has been on rebuilding the tram network on the railway network as is the case with the Dudley Tram, phase 1 to Castle Hill. And, the priority has been using urban railway lines for roads and for every kind of building imaginable. Rather than
- "The plans outline up to £1.5 billion of new and improved infrastructure, to be completed between 2025-2030
- Space for up to over a hundred additional trains on the network every day
- Will cut journey times for thousands of commuters - between Birmingham and Hereford journeys will be slashed by up to 13 minutes
- Proposals improve access to high-speed services at HS2 at Birmingham Curzon Street
- Improvements to the Cross-city Birmingham line would enable trains to arrive every ten minutes
On 5th December, we launched the Outline Business Case for the Midlands Rail Hub, a piece of work years in the making. The plans will revolutionise rail travel in the Midlands, and the wider UK. "
See you later. Tim
NOT QUITE THE WAY TO BUILD A MORE SOCIALLY JUST AND SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY!
At a time of more people suffering poverty than we have probably seen for 70 years, our government of the people, for the people by the people, is splashing out on the most monumentally expensive High Scam 2; billions on trams replacing or duplicating buses; and, Sprint buses going on routes already blessed with Platinum buses and trains and next, trams to come out to Solihull!
There are very much more responsible and socially just and obvious ways to get car commuters to leave their precious vehicles at home and commute by bus, train and tram.
High Scam 2 is a fraudulent project when the thing has to go so fast through little England it can only stop, outside of London at two airport stations before terminating in Manchester. Some trains will call at Curzon Steet and Crewe. Yet, the website makes one think that every other city will somehow benefit, too!
All the intercity stations that will be bypassed by High Scam 2 will see no improvement and, perhaps, a poorer service.
Brutalist concrete building
I spoke to Gary Davis/Davies this morning at 16 Summer Lane when we met for the WMCA Investment Board. I asked him if he knew John Christophers, which he did. I wondered what he wanted to be done with the long arc of the 1960s concrete building in Smallbrook Queensway. The city council is considering a planning application and John Christophers has an alternative plan.
In addition, does he want trams or trains on the decades of wasted, unused or, partly used double-track railway lines in Birmingham?
Should Metro and Sprint extensions continue to be progressed?
And his reasons, please.
Sunday, 11 December 2022
to Liz Clements - Public funds for public good
Public funds for public good and the lowest possible GHG emissions
ROUGH RULE OF THUMB:
to Jackie Homan, Hd of Environment
Concessions for climate and conscience
Lower our aspirations
Live in a smaller space
to Bob Whitehead re unsustainable W Midlands
Dear Bob - and invitation to John Christophers in case he might like to join us on Tuesday evening.
70 YEARS OF CITY COUNCIL DESTRUCTION, AND NEGLIGENCE AND IDIOCY!
You seem to be the person who has come the closest to understand what I am getting at!!
You wrote, " ... the money diverted into upgrading the current regional public transport system, including the opening of new routes." Those new routes, I think should be your own local railway line through Kings Heath, mine through the Black Country and the Sutton Park line. The lines are already in place or safeguarded, in my case in the Black Country but are not fully used!
For decades I have been toiling away pointing out to the authorities that they first need to build a sensible unsustainable West Midlands where perfectly good transport infrastructure and buildings are NOT destroyed or mothballed/overlooked. And, where building sites are used to house the badly housed.
My futile attempts to kick up a fuss about the destruction of our railway lines in Brum and the Black Country has been ongoing since the 1990s. Yet, the UK's only remaining, principal mainline railway "of national strategic significance"
is still being broken up into heavy rail (HR), light rail Metro trams (LR), Very Light Rail (VLR) and, possibly ultra light rail Stourbridge Shuttle (ULR). Incredible!
When it comes to housing, we are still building well below best energy efficient standards and, overlooking building sites, like the massive 23,000 sq metres at Merry Hill Shopping Centre that has been wasted since the canal was straightened in the 1990s, I believe was the decade. 23,000 sq m designated for housing at High Plateau since, at least, 2020 as here:
On High Plateau, I'm suggesting solar powered, very high energy efficient apartments for the badly housed, including some of this year's record 40,000 small boat migrants. Any chance of WMCC going along with that?
BACK TO TRANSPORT:
Transport infrastructure destruction has been continuing for 70 years when it started with the total obliteration of the Midlands tram network in the 1950s and continues with the Dudley tram on the nationally important mainline railway to this very day!!
More here about the merry dance we've all been taken on:
FIRST, get a sensible, unsustainable, non-green transport and housing practice!!
Friday, 9 December 2022
to retrofitting Richard
It was great to meet you in person this afternoon. You have done enormous amounts of great, detailed work and are much respected. Well done.
Retrofitting to counter climate is relegated to the ... ? SIDELINES!
There is a resolution submitted by Richard Hatcher on this item.“The West Midlands Combined Authority’s ‘Five Year Plan’ aims “to retrofit 292,000 homes by 2026 to stay on course for net zero”. “The WMCA estimates the investment required to 2026 to fund the Five Year Plan as … £3,853million.” “The WMCA has brought in c. £11m of retrofit funding, amongst a wider total of £67.66m won by our constituent local authorities.” It doesn’t say for how many homes. And now the WMCA are bidding for Government grants worth around £40million to retrofit over 2000 homes.
This would enable an average of £20,000 per home. So the £11m funding already secured by the WMCA plus the new bid would retrofit approximately 2,500 homes. To put this is context, there are 235,512 fuel poor homes in the West Midlands according to the WMCA’s ‘Five Year Plan’. 2,500 homes is about 1% of that.
There will be more Government grants available for home retrofit, but they will be nowhere near the sums needed to fund the CA’s plans. But the WMCA’s ‘Five Year Plan’ relies not on Government funding but on “developing investable propositions to stimulate the market”. The problem is that this investment is simply not forthcoming, as the WMCA report ‘Environment Behaviour Change Update’ on 9 March 2022 explains: ‘“Energy infrastructure spending is not aligned with local economic priorities which is proving a significant barrier to business investment.” In short, the market won’t invest in retrofit on a large scale because they don’t think there’s enough profit in it.
The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) is “an industry network with a mission to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment, by transforming the way it is planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated.” In October this year it published a 26 page document – the ‘UKGBC Response to Net Zero Review: Call for evidence’, which is very critical of Government policy: “Current rates of renovation will need to increase by around 7 times if we are to meet the Government’s target of upgrading as many homes to EPC Band C as possible by 2035.” The report concludes that “It is critical that Government therefore introduce and support a large-scale, transformative domestic retrofit strategy and programme that is fully coordinated with local authorities, industry, consumers and other relevant stakeholders, and does not disadvantage lower-income households.”
The WMCA itself acknowledges the failure of Government policy: “Current funding provision is sporadic, piecemeal and usually short-term”. But the actions it wants from Government fall far short of what is urgently needed – there is no call for a huge increase in Government funding to get the retrofit industry to work to achieve the WMCA’s retrofit targets on behalf of the people of the West Midlands.
The WMCC therefore calls on Mayor Andy Street to publicly demand full Government funding for home retrofit and to campaign for it, mobilising popular pressure on Government. This would gain overwhelming public support.”
High Plateau and National Brownfield Institute
ALSO SEE EMAIL below this one. Mark is a developer whom I met at the National Brownfield Institute on Wednesday. This is also intended for Dudley Council's regeneration chief, Cllr Simon Phipps for his action, please.
From: Tim Weller <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2022 at 21:10
Subject: High Plateau, Merry Hill Shopping Centre
To: Mark Grady <email@example.com>
to Isobel Seccombe
Dear Cllr Isobel
2 or 3 fast regional trains every hour and nine new stations over the completed 120 Kms between Worcester and Derby
or, 6 to 10 "bus on rails" trams every hour and 17 tram stops over only 11 Kms to STOP the reinstatement of the railway "of national strategic significance."
£343 m plus cost overruns to build the Black Country Tramline over 6.7 Kms that destroys the Black Country Railway over 56 Kms. All 56 Kms can get commuter/regional trains back for less than £200 m (2015 figure). Or, stupid politicians?
Why CUT a 120 Kms principal, mainline railway through the congested West Midlands with a tramline in two halves, a railway test track and a trail of trees, Japanese knotweed and undergrowth, when absent trains on 56 Kms of track could have their trains and stations back, FOR LESS MONEY than using trams on only 6.7 Kms?