News for Members September 2013

Progress Report on the Replacement of the Salvesen Steps

The replacement of the Salvesen Steps is of great importance and I would recommend that you take a look at the document under the section F.R.A.W. Documents entitled "Item_7.22___Salveson_Steps_report_Aug13_FB_v1.1" as a request for funds which was submitted to the Council’s Finance Committee on 29 August. The good news is that it was approved. The report details the need for replacement very thoroughly and even more importantly demonstrates the commitment to this at Officer level within the Parks & Greenspaces Service.

The process so far has been one not without frustration and disappointment. It would be tedious for me to give and for you to read a detailed blow by blow account but briefly this is where we have been and where we are now.

About a year ago a surveyed and completed plan was in place and just about ready for financial
approval. This was for a walkway to be suspended from the rock face. Unfortunately the Bridges & Structures section of the Highways Department vetoed this saying that the structure was potentially unsound and would be very expensive to maintain. They were tasked with producing an alternative scheme but found after several months that they lacked the personnel to achieve this. The project landed back with the Parks & Greenspaces Service who since then, I am pretty sure, have handled the matter with as great urgency as was in their power. There have been some further delays caused by the Council’s purchasing procedures but the funds have now been authorised to appoint fresh Consultants to produce a new scheme. All the past work has not been completely wasted as much of the survey work can be utilised.

Tender documents should be sent out in early September to the Consultants selected as being suitablefor the job. Realistically it will not be until the New Year until a new scheme is ready for public consultation. Then comes the difficult part – funding. An application will go to the Council and the cycling body, Sustrans, who were previously prepared to pay up to 50%, will we hope, still be prepared to support it.

Although there is much to regret in the process that has unfolded and much that could perhaps have been done in another way, it is better now to look forward and leave those responsible to get on with the job, as they have demonstrated their keenness to proceed. We will of course enquire as to progress when appropriate but more action will be required at the consultation and finance stages and you may all be urged into action at that time.

We have frequently mentioned the importance of strong membership numbers, in order to carry weight when dealing with Council Members and Officials. They are very much aware of the strength of public opinion that we represent and this has had a very positive effect so far. Therefore anything you can do to recruit new members – neighbours, colleagues and friends - is of great value.

I know that you have been notified about our open meeting at the Boat Club on Wednesday October 2 at 7.30 and hope to see as many of you as possible then. We can then discuss further this and several other interesting matters.

Best wishes
Richard Adlington. Chairman