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Is Geography a problem for Conservatives?

April 20, 2022 11:16 PM
By Peter Dobbs

HGV chaos on Buxton Rd (Peter Dobbs)

HGV Chaos in Ashbourne

From the extensive comments about Ashbourne in their by-election leaflets you might have thought that the town was in the Carsington Water Ward. Or is it just that they can think of no benefit that the last two decades of Conservative control in Derbyshire Dales has brought to the immediate area of Carsington Water?

Perhaps as a balance we can remind ourselves of the things that Ashbourne has had to suffer in the past. The closure of four public toilets and the opening of just one. The demolition of a bandstand, two shelters and a lakeside boardwalk in the park, all allowed to rot away. The closure of almost all banks, many shops and a Saturday market.

Is the idea that 'Levelling up' looks more impressive when you have lets things decline a long way?

However it is the prominence with which they address the issue of a by-pass for Ashbourne that is striking.

Lib Dems are on balance in favour of a by-pass for the town and agree that the western option is probably the best compromise route. We have since 2017 tried to encourage the County Council to use the cost to health and well-being of the illegal levels of air-pollution in the town as the most convincing argument for government funding of the by-pass but this appears to have been ignored until recently.

However we trust there is no suggestion that a by-pass for Ashbourne will significantly reduce the problems of large numbers of HGVs for roads outside the town. The impact of a western by-pass has been extensively modelled by consultants working for the County Council. The only road through Carsington Water Ward that will show a reduction in HGV would appear to be the B5035 through Kniveton which may achieve a reduction in HGVs of less than 3% (or about 7 HGVs a day)!

Above all it is the idea that it is somehow the fault of agencies other than the current Tory government that we do not yet have a by-pass in Ashbourne. Who exactly are the Tories targetting with their 'campaigning for the Ashbourne By-pass'. The electorate are overwhelmingly behind there being a by-pass, the problem is this Conservative government being unwilling to provide the funding.