Friday, June 08, 2007

Is their any real opposition?

There have been more headlines in the last few days concerning opposition to the long hoped-for Kingskerswell bypass.

Political parties quite rightly have to publish details of who they are and where their money comes from; spokesmen from political parties have usually been elected; and represent a formal membership viewpoint.

On the other hand anyone can set themselves up as a 'pressure group'. Totally unregulated, unsupervised and undemocratic these groups often turn out to be little more than one or two individuals working from a front room somewhere.

The Kingskerswell Alliance - or at least it's Chairman Ken Pegden have been busy bagging headlines and writing letters; but I wonder how representative are Mr Pegden and his band of public opinion locally?

After years of activism their support remains tiny, compare their recent petition (2,000 signatures) with the consistent 85% of Torbay residents (about 119,000 people) in survey after survey who want the Bypass urgently and you get the picture.

Meanwhile many more Kingskerswell residents will benefit than will lose out when the road is built, not just because they will get their village back but because they, too, will benefit from the improved transport links in each direction and reductions in noise and pollution.

There can be few -if any- residents backing on the proposed route who did not know about the by-pass proposals when they bought their homes since the proposals have been in the public domain for thirty years or so.

I fear the 'Kingskerswell Alliance' is not really a serious pressure group representing a substantial level of public support as they would wish us to believe, but a handful of anti-car environmentalists in disguise.

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