John Whitehouse

Retired County Councillor for Kenilworth Abbey Division Learn more

No ‘SPARK’ for Warwick District!

by John Whitehouse on 7 January, 2009

Bus and bus stop

It seems that the’SPARK’ public transport scheme for Warwick District is a dead duck. Launched in a fanfare of publicity by the County Council 3 years ago, it succeeded in winning potential government funding of nearly £13 million to deliver a “step-change in the quality of public transport in Warwick District”.

Now, because of the failure of the Stratford Park & Ride scheme to stem operating losses, a similar scheme for Warwick District is being dropped, and with it the whole of the SPARK scheme.

The Conservative Cabinet tried to slip a decision through without discussion back in October, but at my insistence and with the support of other Liberal Democrat and Labour members the matter received a proper public airing at the Warwick Area Committee last night.

It’s been a costly exercise to achieve nothing – some £300,000 to put together the winning bid to government, and then another £50,000 on consultants’ fees etc in deciding to drop it!

The matter now goes back to the Cabinet for final decision, but the outcome is clear. The Conservatives claim that the intended benefits of SPARK are being or will be delivered in other ways, and at no greater cost to WCC council taxpayers, but I and other opposition members are left feeling that a great opportunity has been squandered.

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