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Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

Community Veteran
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Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-28610943
Quote
A temporary toll road made of rolled chippings that bypasses a closed section of the A431 between Bath and Bristol has been opened.
The Kelston Road was shut in February after a landslip and will not be repaired until the end of the year.
Businessman Mike Watts arranged for the the track to be built which costs £2 per car for the 400m journey.
He said although the road did not have planning permission he would be applying for this retrospectively.
Bath and North East Somerset Council, which had previously rejected the idea of building a temporary road, would not comment on the road's opening.
Kelston Road The A431 is shut between Penn Hill Road in Bath and Kelston
Instead, it referred the BBC to a previous statement issued on 9 July which said it "held no information the toll road design meets safety standards and no evidence that insurances are in place for any member of the public who uses the private toll road".
Vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, or those wanting to avoid the toll, should continue to use the signposted diversionary route, which is 10 miles (16km) long.
More information http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/Kelston-toll-road-opens-traffic/story-22050189-detail/story.html
24 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Registered: 02-02-2008

Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

Unlikely to make a profit I would have thought in the few weeks it will be in use until the main road is fixed.
Must have cost tens of thousands to lay and has to be manned.
Sounds more like charity/publicity.  Cool
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Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

Quote
It has cost Kelston Toll Road Ltd £150,000 to build the road and Mr Watts estimates it will cost another £150,000 to run the toll road for five months.
The toll road needs to have 1,000 cars a day if the scheme is to break even.
1,000 cars per day doesn't seem to be difficult to achieve on a major A Road
Community Veteran
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Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

No idea but it's only cars and light vehicles allowed and a normal single-carriageway road.
Assuming most of the 24-hour day is quiet and you get a "peak" of say 10 hours that's about one a minute in each direction. Plausible.
Presumably many people will have made other travel arrangements and/or be put off by official road closed signs and divert.
Certainly doesn't sound like a sure-fire way of making a fast buck.  Cheesy
Community Veteran
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Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

Not so daft though....even when the main road re-opens he will have a road with main road access! This could very lucrative for things such as burger bars, roadside cafes, or even a more permanent structure (such as services etc) as there will be some precedent, and it will be easier for him to get planning permission -or harder for the council to object!
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Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

The repairs to the "real" road will take until the end of the year... see the other thread on Governmentium!
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petecov44
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Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

Guys a Genius - He deserves to do well.
alanf
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Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

There will be taxes to pay as the scheme is well publicised. Money for the public coffers that otherwise would not be raised. With lack of planning permission there is also a risk that the council could shut him down triggering huge losses. £2 a car does not seem extortionate.
The real question is why it will take so long to fix the main road. Compare with the amount of damage after the Japanese earthquake. That was fixed in 6 days.
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/mar/24/japan-disaster-reconstruction-road-recovery
Community Veteran
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Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

by the time the planning application is heard and if rejected an appeal it will be the end of the year anyway
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Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

... but he's committed the crime of embarrassing the local authority. They'll pull out all the stops, regardless of cost, to prevent this from operating.
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itsme
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Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

Watching the news it's seem the local authority will not being doing anything fast to close it down as for them to do a temporary route will take sometime. So what probably will happen is that planning permission will be refuse after the road is reopened.
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Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

petecov44
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Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

Quote from: itsme
Watching the news it's seem the local authority will not being doing anything fast to close it down as for them to do a temporary route will take sometime. So what probably will happen is that planning permission will be refuse after the road is reopened.

They are working with him to get it all above board the new says.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

according to the beeb, the road will be taken up and the land reverted to agricultural use once the defunct road is re-opened.  i hope the guy makes his money back and even a bit of profit.  it's a good idea, well implemented and for a good cause.  he's made a lot of people very happy.  i applaud his initiative and his wife's nagging.
Community Veteran
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Re: Greedy businessman or entrepreneur or what a good idea

Looking good up to now http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/milestone/story-23056210-detail/story.html
Quote
Bath businessman Mike Watts is celebrating after welcoming the 100,000th car through his booth on the Kelston toll road.
This milestone means Mr Watts has successfully recovered two thirds of the money he invested in the road, which cost £150,000 to build.
The 62-year-old father-of-four took a financial gamble on the toll road scheme, using his house as a guarantee for the £150,000 set-up and estimated running costs of £150,000 for five months.
He said: “We are absolutely delighted and overwhelmed by this incredible achievement in just two months and thank each and every person who has paid to travel over our toll road.
“This milestone means that we are now two thirds of the way to recouping all the investment and operating costs involved in creating this bypass around the A431 road closure which has inconvenienced so many people and affected so many businesses in the area.