Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Parliamentary by-election near-miss "caused" by Tory council's "mistake"

Life is full of ironies.

Richard Benyon MP was nearly run over by a bus in Northbrook Street, Newbury last week. In his Westminster Diary he commented:

“I was nearly run over by a bus in Northbrook Street on Friday. Buses do not rev these days, they purr and this one crept up on me with the speed and stealth of a cheetah...

"It proved an expensive experience because I was saved by an eagle-eyed charity chugger to whom I felt duty bound to contribute. No more Newbury By-elections for the time being."

Despite strong local opposition led by the Liberal Democrats, Conservative-controlled West Berkshire Council has recently returned buses to Northbrook Street following the completion of works to make the street "one-level" for 10am-6pm pedestrianisation.

This has led to a very dangerous mixture of buses and pedestrians - the latter using the freedom of the "one level" street to roam all over the width of the street.

A bus driver of 19 years service has reportedly resigned rather than face such an "unsafe" drive through town.

It is most fortunate that this accident was not serious.

There is something of an irony here. The near-miss would allegedly appear to be not entirely unconnected to what many locals see as the alleged "mistake" of Mr Benyon's own party in putting the buses back into Northbrook Street. (That's enough legal caveats - Ed)

The episode certainly falls effortlessly under the heading: "You couldn't make it up".


  1. Pedestrians separated from buses by big curb on edge of pavement = safe.

    Pedestrians and buses on one great big pavement = not safe.

    Surely it's not a difficult concept?

    Also, you would have thought that the expense of making the 'one great big pavement' would have put off anyone wanting to route buses over it.

    One day they'll see sense!

  2. Thank you Rod - absolutely right. I have added your blog to my blogroll.

    All the best