Third Battle of Newbury
June 12, 2007 9:30 PM   Subscribe

During the infamous anti road protests at Newbury, England in the mid 1990s, Mark Carroll made a short film called 'The Wild Horses of Newbury' .
posted by Sailormom (14 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Photos of the protest. Twenty minute documentary on the evictions of the tree protesters.
posted by Sailormom at 9:33 PM on June 12, 2007


Great footage. Gogogogogodawful narration. I loved the bit where the black horse put his head up against the white horse and then proceeded to go crazy. I hated the narration. It even starts off rhyming, and then stops, only for the rhymeword to appear* again some lines later. And oh gosh the music...

But let me reiterate, that was some great footage.


*Clever, aren't I? Regular little mister smartypants.
posted by Kattullus at 9:57 PM on June 12, 2007


very glad the road was built though
posted by A189Nut at 12:48 AM on June 13, 2007


Damn hippies
That was the most irritating thing I have seen in a long while.
posted by Joeforking at 1:04 AM on June 13, 2007


I'm putting on my local hat here as I've lived in Newbury since the protests and the effect of having the bypass. I did study it in GSCE Geography so this info is a good 13+ years old so take it with a grain of salt.

Out of the two major routes the bypass could of taken the one it went was preferred (going round the west side of Newbury) as the East Side is home to an ex US ARMY base that was being decommission at the time (Greenham Common for those who wish to google) and also the geographical layout is very hilly and has a number of small villages in the way making it difficult. One of the protesters said they could of built a tunnel, well you couldn't lets just put it that way as the cost would be astronomical.

As for the actual effect of the bypass I'm still glad its built. The old route (which is still used quite heavily) consits of a stretch of dual carriage way which has 4 major roundabouts on with traffic lights. On a good day with all the lights green and quite roads you can get from one end of Newbury to the other in about 7 minutes, bypass is faster roads, similar sort of time. However once traffic builds up it can easily take 45 minutes+.

Also I would guess there was some strong commercial pressures from Vodafone, whos headquarters are based in the local area. At the time Vodafone had offices spread all over the town and I wouldn't be surprised if some wheels were greased to get things moving as it would be very easy to see lots of staff being constantly late causing the company money. That of course is just wild guesswork on my part
posted by rus at 1:42 AM on June 13, 2007


From what I've read, traffic conditions have not improved in Newbury since the construction. But isn't that the way all new road (or lane) construction goes?

It's a pity they didn't instead try charges to encourage people to travel during quiet times -- it could have made the government money instead of costing it £125 million.
posted by pracowity at 2:11 AM on June 13, 2007


My folks live just outside newbury and I have to say that the bypass has improved traffic considerably. rus is right that the two other routes were never sensible options. Building it did mean that Vodafone could build their new global HQ near the town and didn't go elsewhere - an important factor for the local economy.

The real problem was that the A34 is the main route for goods travelling from the south coast ports at Portsmouth and Southamption up to the Midlands. I remember one quote being bandied about at the time of the construction was that Newbury had the only sets of traffic lights on the A34 between Portsmouth and the north. As such, charges to make people travel at quiet times would have to be a fully integrated national system - which would cost considerably more than £125m.
posted by patricio at 2:34 AM on June 13, 2007


As such, charges to make people travel at quiet times would have to be a fully integrated national system - which would cost considerably more than £125m.

1. Add the costs of implementing road charges
2. Subtract the saved costs of road construction
3. Profit!
posted by pracowity at 2:43 AM on June 13, 2007


My primary school in Bracknell went absolutely to town on the Newbury Bypass when I was there in the mid-90s - we did a whole project on it, went and visited the place (this was when the road building was just beginning), had long ethical discussions along the lines of "would you or wouldn't you", were divided in half into hippie protesters and road-loving-car-driver types and made to debate each other.

Yeah, not much happens near Bracknell.
posted by reklaw at 2:49 AM on June 13, 2007


Them Ents are gonna be some pissed off murdering avengers when they hear about this.
posted by DenOfSizer at 3:11 AM on June 13, 2007


Yet only 10 years later traffic levels through town on the A339 are back to what they were before the bypass. I live and work in Newbury, so have the advantage of not needing to commute. But the traffic situation locally is pretty dire. Still, it's always nice to see home getting a mention
posted by devon at 4:15 AM on June 13, 2007


Damn, the skyway's jammed.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 5:18 AM on June 13, 2007


Can anyone find out more about that film? Where did the horses come from -- were they actually wild or had they just escaped during construction work?
posted by pracowity at 5:29 AM on June 13, 2007


The other thing that is being done to reduce freight traffic through Newbury is an upgrade of the Southampton Docks -> Birmingham railway route. Various Governments of the 60s and 70s closed the most direct routes, unfortunately.
posted by athenian at 6:34 AM on June 13, 2007


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