SIR PETER BOTTOMLEY: The future for the young?

Sir Peter Bottomley
Sir Peter Bottomley

A child born by the A27 in the mid-1960s would now be over 60 years old.

She or he would have seen plans come and go. Perhaps during the next 20 years, something will happen?

The packed meeting in Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre heard pleas from some residents for a road going up into the South Downs before returning to the present line.

We were told that could cost £1billion with conventional returns calculated at less than that.

The total of environmental benefits, casualty reduction and economic gains would be less than the cash needed.

The apparent alternatives of £50million or £75-£100million have estimated benefits of £300-£600million over the life of a scheme.

The lessons for me are that the closer options are possible; that those returns could justify a budget above £100million with possible extra protection for residents close by; and that immediate attention is needed for the Grove Lodge roundabout.

Additionally, I will ask Highways England to make available two sets of helpful information.

People want to know how the benefit-cost ratios are calculated.

Also, it will help if interested people can read the inspector’s 1996 report reasoning when routes through the South Downs or through the north of Salvington were ruled out.

A child born in the past ten years will be experiencing modern Hallowe’en, a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening, remembering the dead, including saints and martyrs. It is part pagan, part Christian.

Virginia and I enjoyed joining councillors and local residents before a good dinner.

Everyone had dressed up and made up to impress and to frighten each other.

I like the image of a child with pumpkins. In a few years that generation will start living with the results and the consequences of negotiations following the referendum vote to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union.

Early this week, I have been involved in major gatherings at Westminster.

The respected Economic and Social Research Council ask me to chair their high level meeting on ‘Free Trade Agreements and the Implications of Brexit for the UK’.

The audience included Lords and Commons members of the select committees that will be examining the possible arrangements that affect trade in goods and services. Our local businesses will be affected.

An hour later, I was part of a panel quizzing experts on the problems of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in high street betting shops.

Many will remember Pat O’Neill of Connaught Leisure. He and I worked at Battersea Fun Fair in the late 1950s; he had his attraction while I was a casual helper on a roll-up game: ‘Everyone is a winner’ was my cry.

In the spectrum of entertainment, gaming and gambling the FOTBs, or B2 machines, stick out as unintended anomalies.

Betting at up to £100 for the chance to gain £500 on the high street was never properly discussed in Parliament.

They are not allowed in Ireland’s betting shops. I believe they need to be restricted to well-regulated properly supervised casinos, unless the maximum stake is restricted to £2.

The test for all we do is what the long-term results are likely to be.

Yes, we need to care for the elderly; yes, we need to recognise the interests and the responsibilities of the middle years; most of all, we can anticipate the impact on the young – in their own lives and also so they might care for those of us who need their support in our old age.

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