Consider the wider implications of the true cost to our local economy

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EDITOR – I hope you’ll consider inserting this note in addition, if space allows, to the hebdomadal opaque missives from N. Hoblyn.

Concerning the ‘works’ in Chapel Street to create a ‘walkway’ between the town centre and Tesco, in response, I understand, to that PLC’s time-limited ‘offer’ to the town council, please note there is an existing ‘walkway’ comprising Queen St, Union St, Chapel St, Oxford St and Linwood Road.

The traffically challenged may follow my simple guide to its use: from the Market Place, walk, waddle or shuffle your way to the pedestrian crossing.

Gorm to your left, gorm to your right, and note that the road is clear.

Now dither until a vehicle appears in the distance. Press the button and cross the road. Take a few steps, stop, and gorm in some shop window.

You have now asserted your ‘rights’. A 40-ton truck now brakes from 25mph to a stop, and the driver sits watching while the inane lights blink their message over an empty crossing.

Total cost to you – zero. To the nation, fuel to accelerate the 40 tons back to 25mph, fuel wasted standing at the crossing, cost of driver’s time, cost of additional wear and tear on vehicle.

Now you waddle away and turn right down Union Street. Cross it next to the car park entrance, the only place where you may encounter vehicles coming from two directions simultaneously, since Union is effectively a ‘tidal flow’ street.

Thus having created difficulty for yourself, you may clamour for Union Street to be made ‘one way’.

Continue, turn left into Chapel Street, and, using the existing footway on the north side, go boldly beneath the railway bridge.

I can assure you, from long personal experience, that you will not, contrary to the absurd hype on the subject hitherto printed in this newspaper, emerge covered in guano.

Note that now the mesh is fitted under the bridge, some of our verminous feathered fellow creatures still cling tenaciously to the mesh placed to prevent them roosting on the rainwater gutter.

Good luck to them.

Hopefully, the loss of a comfortable billet will not make them incontinent.

Now proceed to Oxford Street and turn left. Stop at the crossing place where there is a ‘dropped kerb’ and those pimples on the flagstones to assist the visually handicapped.

Next, you must fire up every brain cell you can muster, because Oxford Street throngs with two-way traffic, the bulk of which comprises of Tesco users.

If you don’t believe me, stand and count cars for a few minutes. Wait for a gap in the traffic – it will come – then cross as quickly as you can. Try not to damage anyone’s vehicles, or ruin its driver’s life, by walking into it.

They are paying plenty to use the road, and may also be paying your benefits – you are paying nothing.

From now on, it’s a bake – but just to add interest you could dither at the end of Serpentine, or Lammas Leas, and feint a step out as a vehicle approaches.

Anyway, press on up to the crossing near Tesco steps (great free publicity eh, ‘Every little helps’ – yes , helps Tesco).

Don’t, whatever happens here, miss your chance to stop some traffic – remember, you have ‘rights’.

Dither until you spot a vehicle approaching then, dead slow ahead, over the crossing. Success!

By now, you may have gathered, I could go on ….

What seems never to be understood by our misleaders who devise these schemes to slow or delay road users for the perceived benefit of pedestrians, is the overall cost to what is euphemistically called the ‘economy’.

Typically, the walkway scheme involves great expense, with the inevitable result that traffic flow will be further hindered in Chapel Street, backing up Union Street, Dear and Kilnwell (favorite fast track to Tesco from Middle Rasen, avoiding King Street, Queen Street and Rhodes corner traffic stoppers, now even more effective at even more enormous expense).

Just imagine the countless thousands of hours of drivers’ time, the thousands of gallons of wasted fuel that will accrue, over time, second by second, minute by minute, for years and years, just to avoid minor inconvenience for a very few pedestrians.

The tail is allowed to wag the dog, such schemes make a mockery of ‘democracy’, and make an already bankrupt and unsustainable nation even less competitive in the ‘dog eat dog’ area of world trade.

Not that the bundle of human rights who press the crossing button know or care about the ramifications of their action.

When the food train, with its armed guards. pulls into Tesco station and they’re all standing clutching their coupons for the weekly ration of bread and marge, or soya bean meal, if they’re equipped, they may then, too late, begin to think.

Funny how so many supermarkets are next to railway lines, innit?

I could go on …

C J Belton

Oxford Street