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Letter: Ash Bridge Project Has Suffered from Obvious Cloud Cuckoo Land Accounting

Published on: 4 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 4 Mar, 2022

From: John Ferns

In response to: Ash Road Bridge Costs Could Double – Council Still Has More Money to Find

The whole project has been based on cloud cuckoo land accounting from the start, something that has been glaringly obvious to concerned residents for at least three years.

A shortfall of £3.4 million, reported to the full council on February 7, is the very minimum that will hit GBC depleted reserves. It is likely to be even greater, as much as £11.5 million.

The evidence for the higher figure is in a paper, hidden deep within GBC’s defence for the Ash Manor planning appeal.

There is now simply not enough development land remaining within Ash, Tongham and Ash Green, to develop the number of homes needed to raise the balancing figure from developers, in the form of a “bridge levy charge”. At the established rate of £10k a home, there is a shortfall of at least £8 million.

This is a very sorry state of affairs; however, blaming Network Rail (NR) for this debacle is unjustified, as their concerns were safety issues caused by pedestrians which could be solved by a footbridge, for which they were prepared to contribute 50 per cent of the costs.

If anyone is to be censured it is the previous administration, as they were responsible for the original financial blueprint that failed to include SCC or NR in the contingency planning for the road bridge.

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