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Bonkers Blog October 2009

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29 October - Another example of council uselessness - click image for photo gallery (1 image)

Burned roadAs reported previously, a B.M.W. was abandoned more than a month ago in one of the few parking spaces outside Abbey Wood railway station. Bexley council is very efficient at applying penalty notices to windscreens but when it comes to applying commonsense they can be useless. Surely a car left where stopping is restricted to one hour should be removed if it is there for a month? Well the vandals obviously thought so as overnight they burned it out. Totally. Nothing left but a blackened shell. By the time I got back home to get the camera it had gone, leaving only the damaged road seen here. Quick action far too late.

So thanks to the month long inaction of Bexley council and councillor John Davey who is frequently seen in the vicinity we have the waste of a serviceable vehicle and damage to a road resurfaced less than a year ago. Never mind, it’s only taxpayers’ money and there for the wasting.

 

23 October - How long before we have a fatality in Abbey Road? - click image for photo gallery (1 image)

Scene of accident“This road was not identified as one of the priority roads, based upon its collision history assessment, during our annual reviews of the borough.” So said the incompetent Andrew Bashford while trying to argue his case for the redesign of Abbey Road after a Transport Research Laboratory consultant predicted that the lack of recovery space for drivers was a recipe for accidents. It’s a pity Mr. Bashford is so arrogant and deaf to advice, because this evening there was another serious accident in Abbey Road.

I have already commented on the fact that anyone standing on a central pedestrian refuge is, thanks to the imposition of a cycle track on the pavement, now within a couple of feet of speeding traffic whereas the distance used to be about five feet greater. Anyone with a dog on a lead is in considerable danger and there is simply not enough room for anyone pushing a child’s pram. The slightest miscalculation by a passing driver will result in terrible injuries or worse.

That is exactly what happened at 6 p.m. today. A man waiting for a gap in the traffic (on the refuge shown here) was struck by a car going in the opposite direction that ran out of road while negotiating the Andrew Bashford approved restricted carriageway. Mr. Bashford’s lack of expertise, his belief that he knows better than any Transport Research Laboratory expert, not to mention a total lack of commonsense has resulted in someone’s leg being severely injured.

 

22 October - Parking irregularities - click any image for photo gallery (2 images)

White lining lorry Parked carYesterday Abbey Road was left coned off all day although no work was done that would justify it. Inevitably it caused disruption to the lives of commuters and residents. However at 6.50 a.m. this morning all the cones were being removed (apart from the two pictured) by the white lining contractor. He doesn’t appear to have completed his work and as I write, (7.30) his vehicle is parked in the road. Presumably he still has the cycle path to mark out.

One consistent thing running through my correspondence with Bexley council and their assurances to the few residents they bothered to consult is that there would be no reduction in the number of parking spaces. “No loss of parking space” was picked out in bold on the consultation document so I am watching this one closely. It looks like the residents’ bays have been made short because someone, presumably the incompetent Andrew Bashford, Team Leader (Traffic Projects), has belatedly realised that the road is too narrow to accommodate all the spaces.

Not directly connected to the Abbey Road situation, but in Gayton Road a BMW has been abandoned for the last three weeks and apart from the parking gestapo affixing a penalty notice to its windscreen nothing has been done. Bexley council is presumably content to see a sixth of the parking capacity outside Abbey Wood railway station lost.

My early morning photographic sortie was marred at the end when I saw a man hanging from a tree alongside Abbey Road. The police arrived followed by an ambulance as I watched.

 

20 October - White lining - click any image for photo gallery (8 images)

White lining lorry Parked car Windscreen noticeThey were out before 7 a.m. this morning, these photos were taken 20 minutes later, but that wasn’t early enough to catch the first commuters and overnight parkers. It might have helped if our cretinous council had put up warning notices in advance but there were none. Just a line of cones on both sides of the road that weren’t there yesterday. I shall be out at 11 a.m. to see if the gestapo have been busy with their penalty notices. Maybe the polite message on the windscreens is a good sign.

At 11.15 a.m. and 1.20 p.m. (after the gestapo’s scheduled visit) there were no penalty notices in evidence and the road marking was well on the way to completion. The contractors had successfully marked out the parking bay around the early commuter and it was the standard 1.8 metres wide. I checked with a tape measure; Bexley council has an unfortunate track record of undersized bays and then telling those caught out by them to challenge the fine in court.

The nearly finished job is included in the photo gallery. (Eight photographs.)

 

18 October - A really clever bit of parking - click any image for photo gallery (3 images)

Parking obstacle Parking obstacle Parking obstacleAndrew Bashford, the council apparatchik whose job it was to oversee the redesign of Abbey Road and who falsely claimed it met the recommendations of the Transport Research Laboratory and the Department of Transport was right about one thing: that parked vehicles tend to slow passing traffic, albeit with the unfortunate side-effect of causing them damage. Here we have a prime example of it. The wide angle lens makes it look less of an obstacle course than it actually was. The Citroen is parked between the two bollards which stand opposite the junction with Carrill Way. It certainly had the effect of slowing traffic while it was parked there for at least an hour while I enjoyed a little of October’s sunshine around Lesnes Abbey.

It reminded me of the time I was sitting at the front of a bus passing through Northumberland Heath which came up to a line of awkwardly parked cars. The driver didn’t hesitate, he kept going and with a machine gun like sound removed ten or more wing mirrors. Fortunately for the Citroen owner this bus driver has a little more room.

 

15 October - Parking suspension, day two - click image for photo gallery (1 image)

ResurfacingAt 8 o’clock this morning the Toyota Celica was still obstructing the contractors, its owner having parked in a space marked ‘Free’ before the bays were suspended and gone away for more than a day. All perfectly legal but acting within the law is no defence against the corrupt Bexley council. The owner was promptly issued with a penalty notice.

Fortunately the contractor’s men have more sense than the average council officer so they moved the car. You can see it on the right in this picture (taken at 1 p.m.) still with the penalty notice displayed on its windscreen.

 

14 October - Parking suspended, Abbey Road resurfacing today - click any image for photo gallery (4 images)

Warning sign Road markings Parked car 7.30 a.m. It seems a shame to knock the useless councillor Davey off the blogs’ top spot but things move on. Yesterday I took one of my infrequent car journeys along Abbey Road. At 1.30 p.m. everything was normal but when I returned just after 1 a.m. this morning the No Parking warning signs were out in force. I noted that even at that time there were three cars parked opposite each other. Two in the residents’ bays and one in the ‘Free’ space opposite. The accompanying photographs were taken a few minutes after 7 a.m. Every available pole was adorned with a warning notice and the road had been painted with temporary warnings throughout its length. But there is no rule about parking in the ‘Free’ section while you go on a week’s holiday so it will be interesting to see what happens to the unfortunate owner of the silver Toyota Celica come 11 a.m. when the parking gestapo is due on the scene. Expect a fourth photograph soon!

I anticipate that marking the parking spaces on the residents’ side will have the effect of narrowing the road even more. Will the Transport Research Laboratory’s prediction (confirmed by Bexley council) of increased damage to parked cars come true or will the residents avoid parking there as seems to have happened so far.

11 a.m. As expected a ticket has been placed on the Celica. The contractor told me that normally a council finding a car long-term parked will have it moved to a nearby safe place but Bexley weren’t prepared to do anything other than ticket it which “is no good to anyone. I can’t get on with my job.” He went on to say that other councils cover up the original signs when posting temporary ones to avoid ambiguity. Not so in Bexley where idiocy, money wasting and persecuting residents is the priority.

 

8 October - Councillor John Davey, Vice-Chairman of the Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Utterly useless!

Three weeks have now gone by since Bexley council unlawfully ticketed a dozen cars in Abbey Road, Belvedere after failing to place signs or cones alongside parking bays that they had planned to suspend. I alerted councillor Davey to this injustice immediately and he hasn’t been bothered to even acknowledge the communication. He prefers to see innocent motorists fined whilst knowing full well that that is unjust. Two days ago his Conservative colleague Ian Clement was given a suspended prison sentence for spending a couple of hundred pounds of council tax payer’s money on a few lunches for other politicians, the sort of thing businessmen do every day. That doesn’t make it right but it hardly compares with dishonestly extorting double that sum from council tax paying motorists who had done nothing to contravene any posted parking notice. I know which of the two I would like to see given a prison sentence; the useless councillor Davey who stands idly by knowing that an injustice was done right under his nose.

Since that shameful incident I discovered who posted the parking restriction notice in such a stupid place away from the bays he intended to restrict. It was Rupert Cheeseman of ‘Environment and Regeneration Services’. He admitted placing a notice on a convenient post within the Controlled Zone intending to restrict parking in bays outside the Controlled Zone and for good measure left road maintenance materials in the road opposite the warning notice to complete the deception. See photos. Apparently he is entitled to put up such a notice. If his job required him to climb a step ladder he would have to undergo a training course to ensure his competence to lift a foot off the floor, but to erect temporary parking signs he needs no knowledge of parking regulations at all. All he needs is the excess of arrogance and effrontery which too many council employees display. I spoke to Mr. Cheesman and he admitted to putting up the signs during the afternoon before the incident and when it was demonstrated to him how his notice was in the wrong place and was bound to mislead motorists he merely shrugged and obviously couldn’t care less. This is the sort of thing which councillor Davey condones and maybe encourages. How else do you explain his silence?

It’s probably worth repeating that this Vice-Chairman of the Transport Overview Committee is the same impotent councillor John Davey who pronounced the changes in Florence Road “absolutely bonkers” and said he wasn’t sure he believed Andrew Bashford’s justification for the vandalising of Abbey Road, Belvedere. What has John Davey ever done to justify a vote next May?

 

5 October - Good news

The asphalting of the Abbey Road pavement was completed today, except for the section outside the new Soviet style barracks. And on the Yahoo search engine this site now sits nicely in the middle of the four entries for the official Bexley council site when you search for ‘Bexley council’.

 

Bonkers Blog October 2009

2 October - Boys with the black stuff - click any image for photo gallery (3 images)

Spreading and rolling Tipping DumpingWe’ve waited more than three months for the pavement to be completed and the final trip hazards to be remedied. Alas we were to be disappointed. All this activity ceased at 1pm and everyone went home. The corner on both sides of Carrill Way is still a mess.

Another disgruntled Bexley resident found the site and made contact today.

 

1 October - Name and Shame

I stumbled upon a website called Name and Shame UK which purports to expose malpractice of all descriptions across the UK. Now that we know that many of our MPs have their noses in the trough and an unelected Prime Minister gives jobs to cronies who have never been elected to anything who in turn break the law but carry on with impunity, unlawful behaviour by local authorities begins to lose any shock value it might once have had. But it is still depressing that Bexley council is so strongly featured at ‘Name and Shame’.

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