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Bonkers Blog September 2010

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9 September - Profligate Bexley council impoverishes residents to protect their own jobs

The rising tide of opposition to councillor Craske’s greed over the matter of Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) and the exorbitant cost of residents’ parking permits has brought forth comment from blog readers and a few interesting figures gleaned from council sources. Apparently there are only 3,081 takers for residents’ parking permits in Bexley and the costs of issuing each one works out at £84 in staff costs and £23 for their accommodation and other overheads. On top of that ridiculous sum each ticket costs £16 to print and post. ICT costs, whatever they are, but I assume computers and the like, adds another (almost) £4 per permit. Then it is said that road marking costs £36,000 a year. Nearly £12 per permit. It might be interesting to do some arithmetic on that.

If we assume that 3,500 cars have to be accommodated and are allowed a generous 20 feet each then that is just over 13 miles of painted line. If there is more lining than that it is not really part of the CPZ but part of needing to cater for normal parking activity, the casual comings and goings of daily life. Why should residents in CPZs pay for general parking infrastructure when those who live elsewhere don’t pay directly for any yellow line that may pass their home?

I know the lines close to my home haven’t been repainted in the ten years since first installation, so if we assume that is the norm, then that’s not much over a mile of painted line which has to be renewed each year, in fact only 7,000 feet. If that costs £36,000 to paint it works out at just over £5 a foot. If the lines are repainted less frequently the true figure might be eight or even ten pounds per foot. They are joking aren’t they? Not just about the cost of painting a line but on the fact that every single permit issued costs £139. The figure may in fact be nearer £150, because according to the council they spend another £10 per permit on road safety schemes directly associated with the provision of CPZs. I haven’t a clue what they can be and it seems like another bit of Bexley figure fiddling to me so I shall exclude it. If I am wrong it makes the waste even worse.

Some of that is offset by penalty charges but the cost of enforcement is irrelevant. The real issue is how can a tiny scrap of paper cost that much to issue. You don’t have to be an accountant and probably don’t need any qualification at all to know that there is something seriously wrong with that. It is bureaucracy gone totally berserk. Someone should get in there quick and sort out the inefficiencies that the idiot councillor Craske hasn’t even begun to think about, cocooned as he is from the realities of life by his massive expense account.

A recent report into public sector workers said that on average they spend 68% of their time farting about doing nothing but even if they were made to work twice as hard the staff costs per permit issued would only fall to about £50. There must be simply too many of them and too many fiddles going on with the line painting and printing contracts. Even four pounds a permit to keep the computer database alive is silly. Bexley council is absolutely bonkers and needs pulling apart from top to bottom to root out the incompetence, inefficiency and corruption.


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