The Oakdale bus link and the messiah, Alan Preest | Zac Arnold

I write in response to the letter by Lydney Town Councillor Claire Vaughan in Vol 42 No 9 regarding the classification of the Oakdale Bus Link by Cllr Alan Preest as “sorted.” I find this letter amusing to say the least. The isolation of the Oakdale Estate, amongst various other issues within the development, has trudged on since the estate was constructed.

The segment of the letter that amuses me the most is the last where Cllr Vaughan, using Preest’s words, declares that “Sorted means that Oakdale will no more be isolated.” Now forgive me if I am wrong but Gloucestershire County Council have simply declared this route a ‘bus route.’ Gloucestershire County Council could declare the outer edges of my bedroom a bus route if they so wished, it doesn’t mean a bus is going to run along it, and amidst the decision by James Bevan to pull out from the Lydney to Chepstow routes (which also include Lydney Train Station) and the “review” of bus routes by Stagecoach West, it is looking more likely for my bedroom to see a bus than the Oakdale Estate.

I find the praising of Alan Preest as some kind of Messiah similarly entertaining. The letter seems to forget that Alan has been a member of FODDC, the council he and Vaughan direct the blame to, for the entire duration of this farce. Not only this, he is a member of the party that ruled the council with a majority for 10 years prior to their ousting in 2017. Yet conveniently in the run up to May’s elections the issue is being portrayed as “sorted” despite this being far from the case.

The party of which he waves the banner also, conveniently, rules the roost at the County Council which has also maintained subsidies for bus routes in Gloucester and Cheltenham but not provided any support to maintain transport links in the Forest of Dean. It is also deeply ironic for Alan to sign off his letter in the same issue as “Gloucestershire County Council Planning and Infrastructure Champion” despite slagging off the area’s infrastructure on your page 3 feature on the bus link issue.

Instead of pushing out propaganda ahead of an election to win votes, Labour will always fight for the interests of our community. A Labour Government would introduce free bus travel for the Under 25s and would give local authorities the power to set up their own bus companies to ensure that our communities are better connected and to reduce the environmental impacts of having the freedom to travel. And a Labour-led FODDC would fight for better transport links for all our residents all year round rather than just when it is strategically beneficial to us.

Alan Preest isn’t a messiah, he isn’t a superhero… he’s an absolute joke.

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