More costs and delays for the Park and (No) Ride at Thames Valley Park

COMMUTERS will have to wait longer to use a new park and ride bus service while the potential cost to council taxpayers rises “significantly”. getreading, 29 April 2020

Get the low down on the cock up that resulted in the Park and (No) Ride that has desecrated Broken Brow at Thames Valley Park.

The business case review of this Park and Ride scheme was a farce. The Berkshire Local Transport Body asserted that:

the Thames Valley Park, Park and Ride operating costs would not be a matter for the public purse.

the risks and costs associated with the Thames Valley Park, Park and Ride will not be bourne by Wokingham Borough Council.

Unfortunately as is usually the case an inadequate business case review leads to poor outcomes.

SOAR has written to the new CEO of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Alison Webster, asking her to respond the following questions:

1. Why did Richard Tyndall on behalf of the LEP at the BLTB committee meeting, mislead the members of the committee and the public by asserting that,

“the operating costs will not be a matter for the public purse and the risks and costs will not be borne by Wokingham Borough Council”?

2. Why was the nature of the revenue sharing deal not included in the Business Case?

3. Do you believe that the failure to identify or comment on the lack of any mention of land acquisition costs or operational costs in the Business Case in the Business Case Independent Assessment represents an acceptable level of professional competence?

4. Why was the establishment of a contractual obligation or at least a heads of agreement for the supply of the bus service not made contingent on the supply of the funding?

5. Do you believe that concealing information from committee members and the public leads to better decisions in public administration?

6. Do you believe that the business case review of the TVP P&R was adequate?

7. Are our public infrastructure projects being properly scrutinised by the BLTB?

The land that has been built on for the Park and Ride scheme was rough scrub land. A walk including a group of naturalists over the land prior to the construction came up with a seemingly inexhaustible list of bird song that they recognised. This list included a Nightingale. It was also known that bats use the route and that there were Slow Worms on the site, both protected species.

It seems a great shame that this wildlife habitat has been lost without even an adequate review of the business case. The £3,600,000 cost seems of less consequence in comparison with the habitat loss over the next 60 years,

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