In a week when our local rag is trying to convince us that it’s still indispensable and the most trusted source for news in the area, this fine example of the local newshound’s art caught my eye. Yet again, the Express & Star fills space with poorly researched, inaccurate copy that could have been fact checked with hardly any effort.
Readers who’ve been following the saga of Chasewater and the dam repairs know that I was recently energised by a letter in the Lichfield Mercury, in which Chase Terrace resident GR Thompson complained that now the works were finished, he was still unable to cross Chasewater Dam via Pool Road to get to the car park on the south shore, the alternative route taking a whole 5 minutes longer, which is clearly an intolerable inconvenience.
My view on this has not changed, and neither have the facts. The road was closed to through motor traffic a long time before 2010. The opening of the Chasetown Bypass in 2005 meant there was finally a decent road connection to the north end of Pool Road, which had formerly been a circuitous rough track. This was only open until 2007, when Pool Road was closed off behind the innovation centre with a heavy gate, to similar protest. The stated reason at the time was for the dam investigations to be carried out, but the gate was left in place permanently, in order to stop rat-running.
Pool Road is a narrow, poorly surfaced road upon which one is likely to encounter pedestrians, cyclists and children. There is no need to cross the dam to get to the southern shore – the alternative route is short, and in the last five years in which it’s use has been enforced, there are have been no recorded losses of sherpas, their livestock or intrepid explorers. Taxpayers have paid a lot of money to sort Chasewater Dam out, and this is no time to wreck that hard work by allowing the bone idle to desecrate the environment with their vehicles.
The good old Express & Star compounds this ridiculous situation by failing to grasp that the work is complete (even though it published the fact in an article on April 19th 2012) or that Pool Road was shut long before the works started. In the whole history of the country park, the road has only been a viable thoroughfare for a short while. This lamentable piece of reportage could have easily been sorted by shooting an email to the park management team, Chasewater Wildlife Group, or even a site visit and chat to the rangers.
As for Councillor Drinkwater, I’d really like an explanation as to why it’s so necessary to cross the dam in this way. I’s a very narrow road that has no footpath along much of it’s length, isn’t wide enough for two vehicles to pass, and when it was open attracted ASB and drug dealing with cars able to pull into the basin access and lay-by by the Nine-foot pool. Is that kind of thing really an acceptable price to pay in order to shave ten minutes off the daily dog walk?
The Express & Star circulation figures are falling off a cliff. If those in charge really want to reverse this trend, they could always try the really radical approach of printing accurate, fact checked news, at least on the first couple of pages.