|An Abingdon Cockell Oppo|
|Keep Your Hands Off Our Pension Money|
Another 'investment' was the Wedge:so far over £250,000 down the plughole. As Council Officer said in his comment below
"The subject has been aired at the RBKC Investment Committee and there is NO WAY they will permit it. And good luck to him with other Councils - it's all hot air on his part, fluff and nonsense."
So it begs the question...if his own council won't touch this idea with a barge pole why would any others?
Then his multimillion pound 'investment' loan to the Design Museum;unsecured and at a nominal interest rate...The Dame suspects there will be 'tears before bedtime' on that one as Pooter pits himself against Terence Conran. And then the rebuild of Holland Park School: £100 million, and yet not one additional place!
And what of his 'investment' in Exhibition Road? It's a £30 millions disaster waiting to happen. The letter below from renowned traffic engineer and local resident, Dr Gordon Taylor graphically points this out to Cllr Paget-Brown.
Pooter Cockell and his schemes should carry a Financial Health Warning. Do not let this loser get his hands on your pension money!
In a recent letter to the local paper you queried the cost that I had given to the new road.
The new road cost £22.4M to build. All construction work was carried out with the objective of creating the new 19,800 square metre road. This would include any works such as moving utility infrastructure with a view to decreasing possible future maintenance costs. It is therefore correct to say that each sq metre of road cost £1,184. This makes the new Exhibition Rd one of the most expensive in the world and a huge waste of public money. In the same letter you claimed that the cost of this chinese granite road was the same as other natural stone used in new road construction in London. In this you are incorrect. Granite setts are most commonly used. These cost £128/sq metre laid (Westminster City Council figure) In other words Exhibition Rd costs almost 10 times as much. The attractive pink tarmacadam road surface in the Mall and around Buckingham Palace costs £18/sq metre and is infinitely easier to maintain than the hand laid chinese granite block road that the Council has had created.
How has this come about? As the Design Champion, Deputy Leader and reportedly the most powerful personality on the Council at the time the critical decisions were made, Cllr Moylan will surely shoulder the responsibility for the decision to appoint architects to design the road. These architects had impressed with their pedestrian paving design at Somerset House but appear to have had no previous road design/construction experience
Pavement and road design/construction are totally different.
The lack of construction expertise within the Council also played a part in what has transpired. It should be noted that the Executive Director, Transport, Leisure and Environment appeared to have no formal transport qualification. If I read the organisation of the Council’s affairs correctly the Exhibition Rd project would come under the Transport Dept.
I suggested to the Leader that a civil engineer be appointed to manage the project but this was not taken up. No-one appears to have questioned whether what was proposed gave value for money or whether in this day and age a hand laid block road was a sensible option.
The architects initially chose sandstone for the road .This was considered unsuitable. Experts then apparently recommended the chinese granite. This was chosen. A Council report says its skid resistance was less than standard road materials and recommended a 20mph speed limit. This at the same time where elsewhere in the borough the Council was laying road surfaces in places eg outside schools, to improve skid resistance. It surely would have been better to have a material used on Exhibition Rd with at least as good a skid resistance as a normal road material.
The use of chinese granite blocks hand laid also has implications for road maintenance. They increase its cost enormously.
Because of its construction the road has been classed as a ‘Road of Special Engineering Difficulty’ This means that all re-instatement must be carried out to match the existing construction. To this end the Council is storing 90 crates of chinese blocks for onward sale to utility companies as they are needed. This has a capital and storage cost accruing to the Council ie taxpayer.
Repairs will be more expensive and take much more time for the utility company who will pass the cost on to their customers. Road delays will be much longer than the repair to an ‘ordinary’ road.
At a Sharing the Street Conference on Dec 1st David Ubaka of Transport for London (possibly someone who has worked for Cllr Moylan) said that utility companies were the ‘elephant in the room’ when it came to shared space schemes. They were no respecter of road surfaces. He showed a slide of a tarmac repair in a granite sett road. He stressed that local authorities should avoid expensive road materials for the above reason.
A further cost lies in the high street cleaning cost of £175,000 proposed pa by the Council for Exhibition Rd
By using an architect with apparently no previous road building experience the Council has built a grossly expensive road at the taxpayers expense.
The road surface is below the skid resistance standard required of a regular highway.
Road repairs will be more costly and take much longer than those for an ordinary highway.Yours sincerely