Wednesday, 3 May 2017

A Roundabout too far?

In 2013 plans were approved for the Queens roundabout in Farnborough a £5,725,000 scheme, that was approved by Hampshire County Council’s executive member for economy, transport and environment Seán Woodward. The project started in November 2014 with a 12 months’ construction time and finally completed June 2016 nearly 8 months late and £1.7 million over-budget.

The Tories have proved they have spent money in the area; not on schools, elderly care, the disabled or children with special education needs, but a roundabout that no one knew they needed! The cost was not just to taxpayers, with the poor quality  temporary surface being so bad with pot holes it caused damage to vehicles and the final resulting layout that is 'accident waiting to happen'.  In fact, it is such a complicated roundabout that a local driving school has made a Youtube video  on how to use it. Just a fraction of that money could have been spent on a traffic calming scheme desperately needed at Grange Community Junior School in Farnborough to protect primary aged children from a dangerous crossing. However this crossing has been deemed acceptable by Hampshire County Councillor Rob Humby, who has now taken over Seán Woodward's position. 

Sir Gerald Howarth MP for the Aldershot Constituency said the scheme was a 'Waste of Money' and 'monstrous' in January 2016 and  called for an inquiry into the Queens roundabout scheme in March 2016. GetHampshire then ran an article asking for comments and the response was largely negative.

In March 2016 Hampshire County Council defended the scheme and still claimed in represented 'value for money' not their money obviously! A  review occurred in June 2016. In January 2017 Hampshire County Council claimed the scheme a county wide success??? If that is what they deem a success I would hate to see a failure!

What ever happened to the review report? How did the project be delivered so late and massively over budget?  why has this been swept away? What lessons were learnt? What action was taken against contractor or Hampshire County Council for the cost and the over run? It is all very well saying lessons will be learnt but we know they never do and history repeats itself. How does a roundabout cost £5,725,000 in the first place let alone go overbudget to £7.4million? In comparison, South East Water are currently replacing 1.3km of water main in Farnborough through West Heath Road at a cost of £750,000 and are currently on time and in budget.

I never knew we had a problem with traffic in the area at the Queens roundabout until the scheme started. It is good that Hampshire County Council pre-emptively fix issues before traffic becomes an issue but there are lots of junctions/areas where traffic is already a problem and should be fixed now!

Simon Austridge

1 comment:

  1. Even though the work is over I now avoid Queens roundabout and drive through the middle of North Camp. This scheme has had negative impact as far as I can see.