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Bonkers Blog August 2011

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16 August - Bexley council’s mission to make shopping more expensive - click any image for photo gallery (2 images)

Pickford Lane Brampton RoadBexley council’s slogan used to be “Working to improve your quality of life” but it was too easily discredited. “Please can you tell me how [insert idiocy of the week here] has improved my quality of life?” would trip them up every time because almost nothing a council does improves quality of life. The old slogan was replaced by the bland “Listening to you. Working for you”. It’s complete nonsense but it has the merit, from the council’s point of view, of not being quite so vulnerable to direct questioning.

If Bexley council was working for us there might be fewer complaints. One I had today was about the new rule about what shops can place on their own forecourt. From 1st August small shops must pay £75 a month to display a few goods outside. They don’t get much for the money, just 30 inches beyond their window. Any more and the price doubles. Bexley council hopes to raise £65,000 a year from the fees which is just enough to cover the leader and deputy leader’s allowances. To ensure that shopkeepers don’t put things outside the council will be sending round their Enviro Crime Officers who don’t work for nothing, so this imposition on shopkeepers and the prices they have to charge is not going to be a big money-spinner. Councils don’t have to charge at all, but Bexley likes to strangle businesses if it can.

The photo was taken today in Pickford Lane; Teresa O’Neill’s territory where house to house calls seeking signatures for a petition against top salaries is still getting 95% support. The charity shop is keeping its forecourt clear, the flower shop probably has little option but to have an external display. It must be hard being a shopkeeper in Bexley but I’m sure they will be happy to know that a councillor on £36k. a year doesn’t have to attend another council meeting until 2nd November. Not Listening. Not Working.

A few days ago someone asked why Bexley council kept having short sections of road resurfaced for no obvious reason and implied something fishy was going on. Whatever the scheme is it is a regular occurrence, Brampton Road got the treatment yesterday. The new surface extends only as far as the traffic island. New Road, Abbey Wood has been done too.


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