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Rother Valley Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by nine elms fan, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    I was fairly thunderstruck to read, in the HE statement, "RVR estimates that the introduction of the LC will .. increase the accident rate from 0.783 per annum to 3.151 per annum .. This means an increase from 4 accidents per five-year period to 16.". That's going to make the Inspector's decision a non-trivial one (even though historical records showed that of 6 accidents in the period 2015-2020, 5 were "slight").

    Noel
     
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  2. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    I must say, I was quite shocked when I read that- I mean, how does anyone even arrive at a random figure like that? There's so many infinite variables involved. All I know is, that as a very frequent user of that road, sightlines on the approach to the roundabout are good. Coming down Silverhill, southbound, one can see both the roundabout and beyond, thanks to the elevation. Northbound, the road is virtually straight, and a LC would be visible well in advance.
    I try and picture this, every time I use this section of A21, and compare it to the tailor-made choke point of Blue Boys roundabout further north, which the HA (as it was then) allowed to be created in 2006. This is the Robertsbridge scenario, but on steroids, as you have the southbound A21 dual carriageway ending, so 2 into 1, plus high traffic flow from the east (Matfield) converging and conflicting with the squeeze on the A21, all capped off with another roundabout into the services immediately afterwards. Congestion wise, it's a nightmare, but the traffic flows at this point are FAR heavier than at Robertsbridge. And in all the years I've been passing through Blue Boys, I cannot recall one occasion when I've witnessed an accident, or its aftermath, at that point, but I'll admit that is pretty unscientific.
    If I were a close observer of driving habits (I'm an Approved Driving Instructor), I would say the reason for this is because it is a significant hazard, and because of that, approach speeds are low, and awareness at this point is heightened.
    As for Robertsbridge, southbound A21 drivers SHOULD be able to see over the roundabout as to whether the road beyond is clear or not.
    Unfortunately, distraction for whatever reason will always be a factor, but speeds across that roundabout will realistically be no more than c.20 mph.
    Anyone who cannot perceive and deal with a hazard at that speed, perhaps should not be on the road in the first place.
     
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  3. gricerdon

    gricerdon Member

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    Having lived in Andrews Close next to the roundabout for 10 years until 2009 I can confirm that traffic speeds approaching the roundabout are low aided by the controlled pedestrian crossing on the southbound approach. Also can never remember an accident there unlike other parts of the A21 to the north
     
  4. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    I just hope the inspector does not place too much emphasis on the Highways England report, I would say end statement it's flawed, because the actual impact would be no where of that magnitude, and he does not mention the public crossing just as you approach the roundabout going south bound , this i would say, has a greater impact than the level crossing would have, , As I see it, there is no affordable alternative to a level crossing at this point .
     
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  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    That is not, though, a reason for the inspector to approve the scheme. He has to approve or reject based on the evidence in front of the enquiry: it isn't the job of the enquiry to try to design better solutions, nor is it the job to say "the solution presented doesn't meet the criteria, but as it is the only one on the table I am going to approve."

    Tom
     
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  6. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    Well, they did say it's a "projection" - and a statistical one, to boot. And, with the numbers being so small, the accuracy will be low. (If the statistical implications of small numbers on projection accuracy are something you're not familiar with, consider flipping coins. Toss one 4 times, and you might get 3 heads the first time, but only 1 the second. Do it many times, and on average it'll be 2, but on any individual group of 4, there will be a lot of variance from that. [If you graph the results, you'll get a bell-curve centered on 2.] Toss one 1,000 times, though, and it will be a lot closer to 50% overall - much closer to 50% than on many of the groups of 4.)

    So even if their model is correct (and it might not be, for many reasons, including the ones you listed), one would still expect a lot of variance; e.g. it might be 12 in one 5-year period, but 18 in the next.

    I didn't try and find the RVR submission, where they gave that estimate (the HE statement gave the reference - RVR/W3/2), to see how they derived it; maybe they used some standard model, I don't know. And how that relates to the points you raise - good question.

    But the thing is that this is the RVR's estimate, so the Inspector, and HE, more or less have to accept it... Even if most of the accidents are slight, it's still going to be an issue. (Along with the property - the land-owner's statement was a powerful one; they must have spent a fair amount to have that done.)

    Noel
     
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  7. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    I think the pedestrian controlled crossing is often forgotten as a cause of delay. Living in the area I am unaware of any accident at the roundabout. It seems that south of the roundabout, accidents are more frequent at the junction where George Hill meets the by-pass - some of the locals would like a roundabout here. The section of the A21 between the John's Cross roundabout and Hastings is quite often closed because of accidents with traffic diverted onto the A2100 through Battle.
     
  8. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    We have to remember that these were opening statements. I wonder how much the land owners have paid for consultants and the QC who is representing them over the 5 weeks of the Inquiry. They do intend to ask for costs - The Pre-Inquiry meeting stated that "Costs may be awarded where a party is found to have behaved unreasonably and thereby caused another party to incur unnecessary or wasted expense." If awarded this would not cover all their costs.
    One of the other points made in the landowners' statement related to funding. They were concerned that RVR might not be able to complete the construction following the Compulsory Purchase of the land due to lack of funding. They have consistently asked for the identities of the donors who are intending to fund the construction.
     
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  9. Fireline

    Fireline Member

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    I have to admit, I nearly had an accident at that roundabout. I was approaching from the north when my attention was distracted by all the protest placards stuck at the roadside, and on the roundabout itself! I genuinely nearly pulled out without looking, because I was trying to read them! Having found them so distracting, I reported them to Sussex Highways, to save other motorists from this potential danger. I am led to believe they were removed soon after that.
     
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  10. Biermeister

    Biermeister New Member

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  11. Enterprise

    Enterprise Part of the furniture

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    There is a standard model for predicting the consequences of road changes. It would be futile for the RVR or any other organisation to attempt to change it. However some of the parameters entered are not pre-determined. I am quite sure that the RVR and HE have agreed them and the published accident figures are the outcome. This is not as alarming as some of you fear. Have a look at the predicted accidents in planning documents for a now completed road scheme with which you are familiar, perhaps a local housing development, note the increase and inconsequential effect on the outcome. Mitigations will be agreed if thought necessary.
     
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  12. Biermeister

    Biermeister New Member

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    .
    The landowners' opening statement does indeed range far and wide. I confess to being bemused when Lord Denning was trundled out: he who was once seen to be representing the common man's interests... The Hoad family are clearly not they. They wish to retain their (somewhat extensive) property rights, pure and simple. All the rest is padding.
    And why would you seek to paint the K&ESR as a somewhat unsuccessful "business" (their quotation marks) when one of the aims of the RVR extension is to make the operation more successful!
    However, the Highways England OS was more than a trifle concerning. One hopes that progress is being made behind closed doors.
    I suspect that we shall be forced to endure much spurious argument over the next five weeks.
    Finally, I really do hope that RVR have a few aces up their sleeve to surprise us with.
     
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  13. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    I think following this thread is going to be too stressful from now on.
     
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  14. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    The Inquiry programme has been updated this morning. Interestingly two MP will now give evidence. The local MP [Bexhill and Battle] Huw Merriman is a supporter and has written in support of the scheme - in his letter he comments on the main areas of objection. He is Chairman of the Transport Select Committee. His letter is SUPP/223 in the Consultation Responses. The MP for Hastings and Rye Sally-Ann Hart will also speak as an Objector. She was Rother Councillor for Eastern Rother - you can read her Objection at OBJ/91.
     
  15. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    In addition many of the signs were based on a 'No Entry' roadsign which caused some confusion. I wonder if this caused any of the RTAs mentioned in the Statistics. If I understand correctly some of the motor-cyclists were stopped on the May Bank holiday a few years back to have them fill in Objection forms - a process which likely caused them more delay than the level crossing would.
     
  16. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    Any news/update from those actually watching?

    BTW, when is the Inspector expected to release their decision?

    I'm also curious about the HE situation. They're still formally objecting, as there is still not a completed agreement (although progress towards one is still being made). (There's a list of 33 open issues, but none of them appear to be 'show-stoppers'; most appear to be things where HE wants to see details on their points of concern. The draft 'Statement of Common Ground between Rother Valley Railway & Highways England' has a similar flavour.) So it appears as though HE and the RVR are moving towards agreement. Still, HE's position is that "the response from SES may not be conclusive but instead require further work/mitigation before the departure can be approved ... Accordingly, it is not currently anticipated that the matter will be resolved before the end of the Inquiry." Can the Inspector give an approval 'conditional on HE being satisfied and approving a departure', which would get around the fact that HE and the RVR won't be able to close out before the end of the Inquiry? It would be interesting to know if the Inspector will raise this point with the HE personnel during the hearing. (I would assume that the Inspector would be unlikely to overrule HE if they are eventually unable to reach complete agreement with the RVR - but maybe not?)

    Noel
     
  17. H Cloutt

    H Cloutt Member

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    I watched the first morning and heard the opening statements. I started watching on the second day - this was the cross examination by the Landowners' QC - he was asking questions on the documents produced by the first witness - seeking clarification and more detail on various points - I am afraid that I didn't listen for long! I think I will watch tomorrow morning to see RVR's legal representative in action.
    I am unclear how long the Inspector will take after the close of the Inquiry to produce his report.
    With regard to the HE situation - I think that there are only a couple of the open issues which remain - but until these are resolved they have to maintain their objection. I got the impression that they may be resolved before the end of the Inquiry. I think that the inspector could include a condition on his report.
    Hope this helps.
     
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  18. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member Friend

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    Highways England’s position is their objection would be withdrawn if agreement was reached. Their statement says they don’t expect this decision will be made during the inquiry because of the time needed to work through the remaining issues.

    The TWA rules allow an objection to be withdrawn at any time before the Secretary of State’s decision.

    There’s no set time for a decision. I’d guess it’ll be several months for the inspector to write his report & recommendations. Then another several months for Grant Shapps, or whoever Boris might choose to replace him at the next reshuffle, to come to a decision.
     
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  19. jnc

    jnc Part of the furniture

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    It will be interesting to see how the outcome and costs play out; there are 4 basic combination possibilities, with sub-flavors of each. E.g. the decision could go in favor of the RVR, but the land-owners could be awarded their costs as a consolation (I reckon the latter is unlikely, that's more likely to be decided on the facts and merits; but if those are close, that might tip it). Or if the RVR wins, it might elect to make a contribution (even if not required to) in the interests of good relations with their neighbours (a consolation award, as it were). It would be really unfortunate if the RVR loses, and is required to pay costs as well.
    Why not (I'm curious).

    Noel
     
  20. Bikermike

    Bikermike Member

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    Costs are (save in cases of unusual egregiousness) usually give or take 60-705 of the costs claimed.

    Also, in this case, it seems it is only "unnecessary or wasted" expense - so any amount that was deemed "necessary" would still stay with the original party.

    You always ask for costs. Why wouldn't you?
     

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