Thursday 28 January 2010

Who Stole the 186 Bus? Deputy Leader of Barnet Council Andrew Harper !

A chance conversation with an old friend of my mums alerted me to the hardship caused to many elderly Mill Hill residents living on  the Watford Way, south of Mill Hill Circus. Quite rightly, our pensioners get a Freedom pass, which enables them to use free travel on buses. Many elderly people will downsize their properties and move to locations with convenient bus services. One of the most popular destinations for a shopping trip for many Mill Hill residents is Brent Cross Shopping Centre. Many elderly people moved to homes close to the Watford Way to take advantage of the 186 bus service, which would deliver them to the doors of the shopping centre.

Sadly for these people, Barnet Council has paid London Buses Services Limited a huge sum, over £600,000 to divert this bus away from this road. Originally the plan was that a dedicated bus service would serve Graham Park, but the council has decided that diverting the 186 would be a better idea, ignoring all of the elderly people who this change would massively inconvenience. You can read the full details of the decision by CLICKING HERE. You will see that no thought was given to the Elderly residents of Watford Way. What shocked me even more was that this diversion was partially paid for by the developers of the RAF section St Georges London Ltd. Why should this shock me? Well the bus service diversion significantly enhances the properties, yet Barnet Council didn't get the full amount required from the developers. The Council had to find over £60,000 from its own coffers (see extract from the report).

Yes, the council is sponsoring property developers, inconveniencing local elderly residents and not even considering them in the decision. Who was the person responsible for signing off this deal? Why none other than Barnet Council's deputy Leader and Conservative party "rising star"  Andrew Harper.

So there you go. A bad deal for the Council tax payer and a bad deal for the elderly. I just don't get why our local Conservatives seem to have no understanding of local transport, no empathy with the elderly of Barnet and a strange predeliction for doing deals rather favourable to property developers.
I wonder if Mr Harper has a nice new pair of boots like his leader Lynne Hillan?

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