Economic Impact Report consultation draft July 2000
Economic Impact Report consultation draft July 2000
I understand that groups represented by steering group members have been asked to respond to GOSE.
My name is Andrew Lohmann, I am a Southborough Town Councillor and was an objector at the public inquiry in to the A21 Pembury to Tonbridge Bypass dualling in 1993. At that time I was also involved with writing Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth’s object to this scheme. My professional qualification is an Electronics Design Engineer. I have regularly attended meetings of East Sussex Transport 2000 & East Sussex Sustainability forum. This response is on behalf of Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth. The report is not very user friendly. The final version of the report would be clearer if an opening summary followed by the analysis then data collected, the industry excepted way. The report failed to address vital issues such as health education and living style and is therefore not holistic and rigorous. I found little clear evidence in the report of anything seriously wrong, in many cases comment solicited indicated there was no apparent problem. In one case the comment from an employer was that there employees did not want to go to work in the morning this was put down to transportation difficulties. – Would any one admit to wanting to go to work? It appears from the comment collected that business is fishing around for lots of government money to be spent without a plan on how to use it constructively. It seems to be a wild pie in the sky dream that Hastings should change radically to a high value tourism town. A safer policy would be to recognise that the majority of tourism is from 10,000′s of people visiting daily from a fifty mile radius who may spend five pounds each whilst in Hastings. If those tourists were not welcomed the town would have a long wait for the more profitable tourists to arrive. The town’s character is central to tourism and reason for living and working there, these are qualities that have not been taken account of in the first three conclusion paragraphs. There remains no local benefit to Tunbridge Wells if the dualling were to take place. Similarly few people travel as far as Tunbridge Wells to Hastings the majority of traffic is local or cross country. The cost in health, environments, and the road building appears not have been accounted for. It is ridiculous the equally good apples grown in Kent or New Zealand cost about the same despite the considerable disparity in distance travelled. Transportation is evidently much to cheap, this does not mean that government departments should encourage more of it.
Page 1, 2.3 point 2 – “bottlenecks, including road and” surely “bottlenecks, including transportation and”. The bottlenecks could be perceived, it is unnecessary for cars to move fast on the Pembury bypass this leads to crashes with serious injuries. A train journeys would suffice, and in many cases is quicker.
Page 2 point 1 – The comment “there can also be image benefits where new technology is applied, for example with innovative public transport schemes” – If this refers to the next bus will be… being evaluated in Tunbridge Wells – There are actual benefits in reassurance that a bus is coming. Similarly the knowledge that another bus will not be for another hour gives you the information necessary to plan an alternative strategy, if you have all day. I don’t believe that the information is correct in the Tunbridge Wells system it is worse than useless. Intrinsic operational failures in bus services can not be overcome by such gimmicks. Few people can afford to be late for work regularly.
2.7 – M4 corridor has a different character and style of business – if you want that move there. Filling in the sea and building hard surface transportation links all around Hastings is the logical but impractical conclusion to such mussing. On the other hand tourism, living environment, work, and business at a seaside town is attractive. May be more fundamental research needs to be carried out so that a clear vision of Hastings’ future is identified. I understand such detailed study occurred for the M4 corridor many years ago.
2.11 – The character of Hastings would change to its detriment. People would not want to live visit or work and business would fail, but what would replaced that?
2.16 – Business do suffer marginally from the transport costs of their location – this amounts to nothing as the paragraph explains. It is possible to order an electronic component from RS components at a premium and receive it the next morning anywhere. Companies can do this although its is considerably cheaper to plan and order the part’s well in advance. Government economic service working paper of 1981 asserted that transport is not the prime mover. Jonathan Brays Roads to Prosperity similarly concludes transport cost is secondary to land and skills.
2.17 – Is this comment about people wanting to go to work because of transport. The paragraph explains this is not a problem in anycase. Most people in most places would admit to not wanting to go to work you might be thought of a sad person to say otherwise.
2.18 – Agree quality of life must figure. In Longfield Road, Tunbridge Wells the air quality is very poor. This aspect is predominating over my personal pleasure in being able to walk to work across a field for example. Many people cough, and sneeze at work I am not the only person to be convinced that this is due to poor air quality.
2.19 – No one can be protected from international commodity prices, but avoiding commodity markets helps. With food your may get an edge by offering local supplied organic. Avoiding the use of commodity components is impossible for a company making specialised instruments, these components are cheap, with a very good specification, and quality, but can quickly become obsolete. A proportion of a company’s time is spent working around the problems this creates. The sudden poor availability of a specialised key component would be catastrophic for the company.
2.20 – I think para 2.18 is more important as this is an edge, that will become more important as unemployment drops.
2.23/2.24 – Towns further away from London have a different character. Tunbridge Wells is in the dormitory belt where people sleep but work elsewhere. Towns and villages on the coast differ and therefore sustain there own type of business. It is pointless trying to change that, dormitory places are not perceived as wholesome places.
2.39 – see my comment 2.16. 2.44 – True. 2.45 – Depends on your business. The company I work for mostly trades abroad and strongly supports joining the European monetary system. The company subcontracts work to companies in Hastings. The connections made in any area of life are due to a need, it does not just happen.
2.47 Point 3 – May be only perceived. 20 years ago Cambridge was a major place for home computer manufacturing. Implication may be that Cambridge is better skilled and the pastures are greener. If too many people try to capture a particular market then everyone looses, a plan that encourages variety is safest. Page 10 Point 2 – Much speculative building is occurring in North Farm Industrial Estate. At present the buildings are poor prefabricated erected quickly. This illustrates the short-termism of business that inhabit them and has negative long-term implications. It would be preferable to restrict building until vacant premises are occupied, this would change the appearance of the estate from being unattractive semi-derelict to attractive with trees a field with a bird of prey and horses – now being built on. These unsightly prefabricated buildings are unattractive to higher prestige companies, such companies would surely find the vacant Denmark House prestigious if it had not been for the surrounding appearance of neglect, similarly the attractive 1930′s stile Daniel’s building has unfortunately been partly demolished. Building or conversion when necessary, is a better strategy for Hastings and Tunbridge Wells.
3.13 Point 2 – What through traffic, there is clearly much local traffic between Bexhill and St. Leonards but there are other routes for traffic travelling further. Having visited Hastings at many times it is very accessible.
6.1 to 6.3 seem to be a high risk conclusion which also impinges on quality of life. Is inconsistent with the evidence – delete these paragraphs. 6.4 to 6.6 are safest agrees with the report – Support.
for Tunbridge Wells FoE and Stop the Road (A21)
xx xxxxx Road,
Kent, TN2 xxx.
File: ahs-econ.doc, 17 August, 2000