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select for full story 21st May 2010

ADMINISTRATORS acting for Birmingham’s troubled Cube development have been given a shot-in-the-arm with the relocation of one of its major tenants.

The Highways Agency has begun moving its 700-strong team from Broadway Plaza at Five Ways, to its new 60,000 sq ft, BREEAM Excellent offices at the mixed use development.

PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Midlands said the move was a “vote of co......

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Motorway cops to get Jaguar XFs
By David Wilkins
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
select for full story The Central Motorway Police Group, which conducts motorway patrols in the Staffordshire, Mercia and West Midlands police areas has bought seven Jaguar XFs for its fleet. The new cars are the Diesel S version, which has a 3.0 litre V6 engine producing 240 horsepower – enough to catch all but the most determined motorway speeders.

Other countries' motorways always seem to be patrolled by local models, even though European public procurement rules are supposed to ensure a level playing field for contracts of this sort, while the UK authorities often seem to follow a "buy British last" policy, favouring expensive foreign-built cars even when suitable home-grown alternatives are available. Jaguar says the XF's economy, low CO2 emissions and low rates of depreciation were among the factors that helped it beat off the competition for the Central Motorway Police order.


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Alex Horne
The Observer, Sunday 2 May 2010

The service station at Newport Pagnell on the M1 is overflowing with curious, jubilant, patient people. Some have waited two hours to be served a cup of tea, but no one seems to mind. They can't believe they're at a service station at Newport Pagnell on the M1. It's only the second motorway services to open in the UK and the novelty is astonishing. It's 1960.

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By the time I arrive at the M5's Bridgwater Services just before midnight 50 years later, the excitement has died down. This may be the only service station in Britain to boast a multistorey car park, but people have moved on. Four lads (three extremely drunk) are buying chips, but otherwise the place is empty. The car park's multistoreys are unnecessary tonight.

I wish I'd been around in the 1960s, if only so I could have experienced its service stations. I doubt I could have coped with the free love and drugs, but I'd have dug the revolutionary heraldic decorations at Toddington (opened in 1965), the waitresses dressed as sailors at Leicester Forest East (1966) and the Sherwood Forest theme at Trowell (1967), including Robin Hood hats for security guards and a café called Marion's Pantry.

Since those golden days the popularity of the service station has waned. The driving inspiration and innovation of the industry have slowed to a standstill. In the late 1980s, Toddington's Travelodge did initiate a "Power Nap" scheme in which a weary traveller could rent a room for three hours, including coffee, for just £5. But when a male colleague and I tried to rent such a room recently the scheme had apparently been discontinued and the receptionist looked disgusted.

Thursday, 15 April 2010 BBC NEWS
Fire destroys M40 Cherwell Valley services
select for full story About 120 firefighters were called to Cherwell Valley Services, north of Bicester
There were no reports of casualties on the site, South Central Ambulance Service said.

Visitors were evacuated from the area, and motorists were warned to drive carefully as smoke billowed across the motorway.

Sgt Peter Gill from Thames Valley Police said: "The roof has collapsed inwards.

"The whole building is completely gutted and has suffered very serious damage.

'Smoke everywhere'

"The fire service are expected to remain overnight, damping the blaze down."

A fire service spokesman said the blaze was thought to have started in a plant room.

He added that there were no suspicious circumstances.

A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service said it was not thought anyone was inside the building at the centre of the blaze.

Motorists could face tolls to use parts of the motorway network if the Tories win the election, David Cameron has indicated.
By David Millward, Transport Editor.. . 09 Apr 2010
select for full story The Conservative leader told the BBC Today programme that the party was ready to look at charging to fund additional capacity and refused to rule out making drivers pay to use roads that are currently free.

" I think we should be looking when we build new roads at occasionally looking at road charges and tolls. Not an eye in the sky scheme but actually looking at tolls because again we need to find ways of building essential infrastructure in a country where because we've had such a bad Labour government we've run out of money," he said.

Last year a radical plan to privatise the motorway network was presented to all three political parties by NM Rothschild, the investment bank, which was behind a number of previous privatisations.

Some senior Conservatives have made little secret of their support for tolling the motorway network, including John Redwood, a former Cabinet minister who also chaired the party's economic competitiveness policy review group.

As recently as August Mr Redwood outlined his blueprint on his own Facebook page, arguing that selling off trunk roads could help public finances with companies paying the Treasury a premium in return for the right to levy tolls.

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