Nik Butler: Lack of infrastructure a sign of our own priorities?

JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001
JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001

Infrastructure; if there is one thing we appear to be short on it is infrastructure.

Planning for new housing; well we don’t have the infrastructure. Planning to install new retail parks and bulldoze athletic tracks for their expansion; well we don’t have the infrastructure.

Thinking of installing that “apparently” much needed and greatly desired second runway; quick question where is the infrastructure?

The word itself is quickly becoming without meaning as it is repeated with a frequency that the public might develop a Semantic satiation to its usage.

It has become an almost Pavlovian response when the question is asked, where can we build? Though the iteration of the word is not without justification. Daily we experience the moments of infrastructure failure throughout our district. The now consistent annual deluge has highlighted that groundwater is running into places where few anticipated; as roads, and drains, become new waterways much to the frustration of those poor car owners.

Away from the roads it is clear that the rail system is struggling with signal failures, work scheduling, and occasional line trespasses. Indeed I have yet to experience a journey to Cheam, or Victoria, in the last six months which had not been delayed for some reason.

Closer to home the provision of school places and planning for the pedestrian or cyclists is exposed for its shortfall in investment as thousands each year are spent transporting pupils from Southwater into Horsham. That is providing the nearby river has not swollen to burst its banks and cut off the planned pedestrian access across those bridges.

As for our other services; between the slow dismantling of the NHS by our Government and the strange need to merge surgeries, fire stations, and clinics there appears to be a desire to fit too many individuals into ever small facilities and time slots.

What leaves me angry though is that images of protests against development and expansion will see more people gathered to protest than those concerned with cuts and reductions in services like health, safety or education.

We are praising groups for establishing food banks because people are going hungry yet there is more focus on house prices and skylines than mental health and helplines.

If we lack the infrastructure to develop our towns it may be because we have shown a continued lack of investment in focusing our priorities beyond our personal property lines and pockets.