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Bonkers Blog February 2011

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14 February - The liar Craske - click image for photo gallery (1 image)

White line entirely obscured by camera lens cap If you’ve read anything about councillor Craske’s plan to triple the cost of a permit to park within a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) you will know that as with many of Bexley council’s operations his justification is based on deception and lies and like anything built on deception, lies and not a little corruption it will usually not bear close scrutiny. In the four or five months I’ve been reporting on developments quite a number of Craske’s lies have been exposed, the subject was last aired two weeks ago, and today it is time for more.

Craske said last September that it costs £36,000 a year to repaint the white lines around residents’ parking bays which if true would add about £12 to the cost of every parking permit. However a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request asking how much they spend says they don’t know. “Data not held” is the official answer which is most likely code for nothing at all. My photograph (taken this afternoon) is of what is left of the white line around a four bay parking spot within a Bexley CPZ. It can be covered by my camera’s lens cap and the bays are apparent only because the yellow lines either side of it are still visible. To be absolutely honest I should add that there are two similar white blobs of paint two or three car lengths away. If any money was actually spent on white lines you would think this non-line would have been high on the priority list but I’d put money on my interpretation of the FOI answer being closer to the truth than Craske’s ‘wet finger in the air’ assertion.

Craske reckons that 64% of parking staff accommodation costs are attributable to staff engaged on CPZ work. The FOI says the true figure is none because no one in the parking office works exclusively on CPZ work.

Craske said that 3,081 permits were issued in the last year for which figures are available and that demand is going up putting pressure on the scheme and causing costs to rise. Economies of scale in Craske’s world? No way! Figures said to be taken from the council’s website in the previous year show 3,081 to be a reduction of nearly 800. I should add again for reasons of total transparency that I did not see that figure myself, it was sent to me by an interested party, but it probably doesn’t matter whether that report is true or not. The FOI answer says that the parking office has “no data available” for the number of permits produced (or visitors’ tickets) for the princely sum of £49,000. Craske said that computer costs for running the CPZ are about £12,000 a year. If they don’t know how many permits and tickets are issued, pretty fundamental stuff I would have thought, Craske might as well abandon his computer database and go back to postcards in a shoe box. My Newham visitors’ ticket is a nice piece of serially numbered card. Only 30 pence for the day too. No cost at all for the residents. God help them when Teresa O’Neill starts dishing out her advice to Newham council.

The FOI answer throws light on a few other things too, like library managers being included in the cost of operating CPZs but today’s blog is quite long enough already and there is always another day. Meanwhile I hope you will forgive me if I cease apologising when I label councillor Peter Craske a bare-faced liar.


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