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Bonkers Blog October 2011

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30 October - Between a rock and a hard place

I got it wrong yesterday; “weekends are always lower than Monday to Friday”. Not yesterday, the highest number of unique visitors ever. It must be the Olly or Notomob effect, so let me tell you a little of what happened when Nigel Wise came to town.


Smart car and signHidden signHidden signNigel met Bexley council’s Parking Manager Tina Brooks last Friday; her chief claim to fame until now has been to write to James Brokenshire MP to explain that she didn’t recognise her own figures that he had presented to her seeking an explanation. To get away with that is a rare skill for which she appears to have been promoted as she now calls herself the Traffic and Parking Manager and brought along two of her juniors to face Nigel and the Notomob’s local coordinator who wears the identifier Peperami (Pep) on his hi-vis vest. Nigel had wanted to bring along a newspaper reporter but Tina, like the rest of Bexley council, isn’t a fan of openness and transparency, in fact she repeatedly asked Nigel and Pep (N&P) to confirm they were not carrying recording equipment. Nor were they allowed to take notes or carry away copies of any documentation. N&P have done the next best thing and both have phoned me with a report of Friday’s events and emailed to me the first draft of their press-pack which will go out to the newspapers tomorrow. Watch out for Wednesday’s News Shopper.

You may be disappointed that I cannot report a great deal about N&P’s thoughts about the meeting or their plans for the future as it appears that Ms. Brooks reads the Notomob’s forum and this blog and I am reluctant to spoil a forthcoming newspaper story. However it is clear enough that Bexley does not have correct certification for their CCTV cars but believe they have a suitable substitute document which N&P were not allowed to see. When ten or a dozen valid certificates from other local authorities were spread across the table for Ms. Brooks to see she covered her eyes saying “No, I will not look at them”. It would seem that Bexley council employs petulant schoolgirls as managers.

Bexley council is now caught between a rock and a hard place. It knows its papers are not in order and it knows that if it applies for correct certification it is tantamount to accepting that it is in the same boat as Richmond council. I am informed that the Get Out of Jail Free card of getting back-dated certificates has been blocked by government intervention.

The meeting ranged across issues other than equipment certification, it included the inadequate signs used to warn motorists, Those shown above supplied by a reader from Willersley Road, Sidcup are typical. The wrong sign, shown upside down, no advance warning and not visible to approaching motorists. Ms. Brooks accepted that Bexley’s signs are inadequate.

As well as sending me his draft press release, Peperami sent me another document for my eyes only. I am not expert in these things but if I interpret it correctly, Ms. Brooks is in for a very unpleasant surprise once she is persuaded to take the blinkers from her eyes.

If Notomob are to carry this issue forward they require help from unfairly penalized motorists. If you have recently appealed a Bexley Penalty Notice resulting from CCTV surveillance to the Parking Adjudicator, whether you have had your hearing or it is still to come, Notomob would very much like to hear from you and maybe take a look at your documentation. Peperami, their Bexley coordinator, may be emailed via the Contact menu at the top of this page.

On a point of pedantic detail, the certificates are now called ‘letters’ despite them being issued by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA). It is all part of the smoke-screen put up by the authorities to try to muddy the waters.

 

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