Thursday, March 11, 2010

Flatland (Fens) Skies (the CGB is now TV News)

The publication of the Report for the Councils consideration on the 16th March 2010 seems to have created a bit of interest in the CGB and quite rightly so in my view. The development has not been without controversy, is costing a lot of money and is significantly late and therefore the Public need to be kept informed as to the issues surrounding its lateness. Yesterday the issues were aired on the Local BBC News programmes and can be seen on the BBC website: "Cambridgeshire busway firm hits out at critics". The story leads with the publication of the report by the Cambridgeshire County Council cabinet member for planning Roy Pegram and BAM Nuttall being disappointed that the report was "made public without reference to BAM Nuttall Limited (BNL)". There is also a video clip from a reporter on-site at the St Ives end of the CGB.

It seems that from the report and from what BAM Nuttall has said that both sides are in "dialogue" over the matters, but perhaps the problem is a standoff in terms of accepting whether some of the issues are defects or not. I wonder if the contract allows for arbitration, I have had building work done and the terms of my contract used Arbitration as a way of resolving issues without racking up huge legal costs for each side. I guess the problem is that the cost overrun is tens of millions of pounds - and with such sums at stake it makes it harder to resolve the issue quickly. the report also indicates that the likely completion date is November 2010. (It was originally set for April 2009). Which implies that the "defects" will take significant fixing.

Interestingly enough it was also announced that plans for a Luton-Dunstable 8.3 mile busway have been granted Government funding and that Sadiq Khan - Transport Minister had been assured that the Cambridge issues would be resolved very soon. The report also indicated that the Contractor was expected to be BAM Nuttall but with a "very different contract". Isn't politics wonderful - it must be quite difficult trying to get things done at a County Level caught in the crossfire of Local and National politics. (I must check to see whether they will also end up with a cycle path - 8 miles is a great cycle commuter distance on flat lands.)

On another "building" note apparently "plans to revamp Cambridge's station area are back on track". Let's hope that significant attention is paid to the issue of cycle parking. The plans include more than 1,000 student flats - which is surely bound to bring in an influx of cycles to the area. There will also be a Section 106 plan in which the developers pay for major transport infrastructure improvements!

Yesterday's cycle ride was a quick pop round Wicken Fen, the weather was gloomy and despite the temperature starting around 6C (although dropping to 4C by my return) it felt much colder because of the North wind. It is not stopping the farmers though and as it has been dry for at least a week it is amazing how quickly the land dries out. This field has been harrowed by the disk harrow - used to finish the field after the rougher ploughing. In the background is Longmeadow which along with Lode has a farming community of seven farms.


The theme is aliens beaming things down or up? continues with this view over the fields nearby Priory Farm looking towards Baker's Fen Drove.


From the same vantage point is the Sustrans 51 sign pointing the way. All of these pictures are composites of different exposures and the bushes (or the camera hand held by me) must have moved between shots which is why they have multiple images. Actually I quite like to effect as it blurs the foreground leaving the background ok-ish.


A picture of High Bridge which crosses Burwell Lode - looks like the aliens are now blasting Upware! This will be where the Connect 2 route provides a link into Wicken Fen.


Despite it being warmer the wind chill is worse at the moment - my toes were once again pretty chilly when I returned home. They remember and try to put me of cycling in this weather - perhaps I ought to find some better way of keeping my feet warm!

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