Grab the money and sort problems later

I’d like to respond to the letter from Councillor Andy Botham (Mercury, August 1), regarding the County Council’s Peadal Peak bid.

In the second paragraph he repeats the point previously made by others, that limited time meant that the Council (and its partners) “didn’t have time to talk to everyone locally (they) would have liked to”.

Timescales were very tight, but this meant that they ‘didn’t have time’ to talk to a number of bodies directly affected by their submission.

As a Peak Rail volunteer I have concerns about the potential detrimental impact that part of the proposals would have on the future development and present operations of this much loved and well-used heritage railway.

What Cllr Botham doesn’t say (and what hasn’t been made public) is that the public bodies involved in the bid managed to pull together 65 pages of letters of support for their proposals (Annex 5 of the bid) in the time available.

The government guidance for bidding stated quite clearly that “all applications must be able to demonstrate that: local consultation has taken place over both the problems to be overcome and the proposed solution; and outline how local stakeholders will be involved suring the delivery of the project”.

Peak Rail isn’t even listed as a key stakeholder in the long list included at Annex-B11 of the submission.

Unfortunately tight bidding timescales encourage a ‘grab the money and sort out the problems later’ culture.

I just hope that if the bid is successful, Cllr Botham remembers that Peak Rail is already an important part of the local tourism and community mix with tens of thousands of visitors every year.

It will be interesting to see how ‘full consultation’ will unfold.

David Lathrope

Via email