George Ferguson and his shadowy money men from Square Peg have been on the internet today desperately attempting to apply some positive spin to their beleaguered Railway Path development. They’ve even knocked together a special logo (above) to try and impress us.
They’re basically now claiming that some of their sketches they’ve issued may have been out of date and a little confusing, so they’ve done some new ones with a lot of green colouring-in on them for us.
There’s also some waffle about “ecology consultants” and promises to plant some apple trees, presumably to offset the sight of the pair of eight storey flats they forget to mention they’re building on the path. You can read the whole thing here.
Campaigners, meanwhile, have already produced an early rebuttal to Ferguson & Co’s efforts:
1. It’s clearer than ever that the SALE LAND is vital in this matter. The preservation of the line of mature hedge bushes and the rural ambiance of the Railway Path depends on keeping that land in public ownership, where it belongs. We are determined not to allow the sale to proceed.
2. The Squarepeg response shows that they’re rattled. They’ve seriously misled the public over the status of the sale land and that is now a matter of public record. There has been NO environmental impact assessment and NO proper public consultation. They will try to divert attention from that but we will keep focusing on it.
3. Squarepeg seem to be saying that if they don’t get the land we don’t get the cycle orientated aspects. That just shows that they’re not really committed to the cycle orientated aspects but are just using it as a pretext for taking out a substantial strip of the Railway Path land. Squarepeg have plenty of room within the existing site but they have chosen to use a large area of it to accommodate parking for 260 cars! Now they want to take the Railway Path land for housing to compensate for that.
4. Squarepeg are still keeping quiet about the tower block that they want to build on the sale land. None of the residents wanted the tower block near their streets so they’ve moved it to this site right next to the Path. Users of the Path deserve a proper opportunity to be consulted on whether they want what none of the residents want – a tower block looming over them.
5. The latest Squarepeg sketches appear to show (upper sketch) the ramps from the Path to the “cycle” houses as STEPS. What use is this for cycle access? But it’s quite clear from the same sketch that a ramp would be far too steep. It doesn’t look like they’ve thought this through properly.
6. The sketches show trees planted hard up against Path. This is not acceptable since the current standard for such paths is that there should be CLEAR verges either side of about 1 metre to allow more flexibility when path users pass each other (e.g. being able to ride or walk right to edge of path or even onto the verge in emergency). These are important safety matters. Also the foliage of trees will grow out into the path and obstruct vital sightlines at the access points.
7. The sketches are grossly misleading. Lower plan sketch shows clearance from Path to housing of at least 7 metres! In fact there will be no more than 4 metres clearance along most of the development. The 7 metres applies to only to the southern extremity of site near Carlyle Road where the existing verge widens. The upper sketch is more realistic in that path/housing clearance there is indeed about 4 metres.
8. The Squarepeg notes claim that “the current buildings run right up to the edge of this land with brick and concrete walls.” This land refers to the land on which the houses will be built, mainly the sale land and the embankment beyond to the northeast. The Squarepeg statement is UNTRUE for that land. The brick and concrete walls only apply to the southwest half of the site/Path boundary. Our concerns are overwhelmingly with the northeast half of the site boundary, as they know perfectly well.