No Surprises Living in Devizes: Train Station LOL – Slight Return

Perhaps travellers will get to Devizes from the Clock Inn Park by Lisbon-style tram... Main picture: Google Maps

IT’S the same nauseating Conservative ethos which finds a hundred-billion quid for a nuclear weapon system, despite a cold war since 1947 without major incident, and with the same purse, neglects education, cuts housing and abandons a celebrated healthcare system, which locally ramps up parking charges over 12% to pay for a failing transport system, in the wake of a proposed Devizes train station.

Yeah, no trip down memory lane intro on today’s column, writes DARREN WORROW, just a full-frontal, futile unadulterated bombast; that’s why you’re here isn’t it?! Good, good, hate to think I’m getting like a stuck record taking pot-shots at Wiltshire Council, but if they glanced off their Tory plinth and smelt the overboiled hypocrisy once a while, they might slither off the No Surprises hitlist. As if it bothers them; hardly likely to slice into their stout wallets.

Raising charges, taking away free parking on Sundays and Bank Holidays, crucifying Town Council’s allowance to free event parking in November and December, yep the only decoration on this year’s town Christmas tree, if we get one, will be a tinselly parking ticket.

Will it matter if no one can afford to park and it’s just the few stragglers fallen out of Spoons who turn up? You think I’m kidding?

Once charges are introduced you won’t be able to even traditionally verbally abuse the traffic warden; body video cameras will be introduced to “protect civil enforcement officers.”

What’s this world coming to when you can’t even take out your frustrations with a duplicitous regime on an innocent guy working to put food on the table? For crying out loud; We. Are. Not. Savages. How much does a blinking body-video suit cost?

If WC wasn’t so stringent people wouldn’t get annoyed, pester wardens, and haven’t need for body-video suits; small-time, Trident-style niggle.

Cabinet member for highways and transport, Coun Bridget Wayman waffled, “If we are to continue providing public transport services we need additional income from parking,” the Gazette stressed the £4.143m excess between income from car parking charges and public transport expenditure.

But hello, is it tricky for a councillor to comprehend huge parking increases in market towns will cripple already struggling businesses and shops will close, thus leaving little point in taking a frigging bus to town anyway?

City folk enrage if the LCD tells of a one minute tube delay, would find our perspective amusing, to hear how we take a tent to the bus stop, just in case. But whoa there, just a cotton-picking minute… our future bus journey may be a shuttle-bus to an all-new shiny train station, which, with a couple of jackpot lottery wins you might just be able to afford a train to get you out of this God forsaken county!

It doesn’t matter if you build a train station if no one has the cash for a ticket.

Oh yeah, the Gazette released whispers within the walls that the newly formed Devizes Development Partnership are keen as mustard to lobby Network Rail and the Department of Transport for the Devizes Parkway station to be “a thing” by 2022, provided Trump hasn’t triggered a world war by then.

Cast your mind back to an original episode of No Surprises… back when it was funny, and recall I polled for one thing you’d like to see return to Devizes, yeah, that’s right and here it is: and if you can’t be bothered to read this, the result was unanimously a station.

So chairman of the partnership, Peter Lay, isn’t wrong when he told the paper, “Devizes is the largest town in Wiltshire that does not have access to rail transport and we want to change that as soon as possible.”

The town will back this idea. But I’m not so sure when he continues, “Our group believes we have found the perfect location for our station…”

The Clock Inn Park on the A342 is three and a half miles from the town centre, can anyone see an issue here? You’re going to have to take a bus, or pay to park at the station. Rowde is half a mile less than this to the town centre and that costs approximately £3.60 bus fare, given this the bus is going to be at least £4, or £8 return. Let’s say a family of four would be £32, not governing inflation by 2022, it’s going to burn £32 from your wallet just to get to the train station. But to drive and park at the station… well, given current rises as discussed, it doesn’t bear thinking about does it?

Someone, favourably with a brain, needs to sit down and explain to WC that it doesn’t matter if you raise parking charges, the result will be less people will park, not because they’re rebelling but they simply cannot afford to (online shopping ring a bell?) – it doesn’t matter if you build a train station, backing the need to improve dire public transport, if no one has the cash for a ticket. It doesn’t matter if you build a flipping space-station with a direct shuttle-link from the Trowvegas Gateway Shopping Centre.

What needs to happen is so simple, but so fair it’s transparent to the Tory understanding; equalise the economy, ensure lower classes can afford to pay for parking and transport tickets; abracadabra.

Nice as a choo-choo calling at Devizes after a 50-year absence may sound, we need to consider improving the existing infrastructure first; fix the potholes, reduce speed limits at blackspots, give police funds to monitor speeding idiots. You know, though, senior councillors will only respond by giving it the old, “but how do we afford all this stuff if we don’t raise parking charges?”

These are, after all, not the same senior councillors who awarded senior officers 16% pay rises, over £19,000 PA, in the wake of 252 junior staff posts being axed in a voluntary redundancy programme (source: Marlborough News) – Oh, hold on, yeah, yeah they are.

Doughnuts; need I say more?



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