One of my correspondents says about the Broadway rejuvenation, “councillor Gareth Bacon is publicly responsible for the Environment and Public Realm”…
While the Broadway is Frizoni's professional disaster, it is councillor Gareth Bacon who is publicly responsible as cabinet member for the Environment and Public Realm. He, one of the highest paid councillors in the UK (if you take in the GLA), is ultimately responsible as he signs off Frizoni's plans. His £76k is more than Teresa Pearce MP on £65k.
and he is now for his sins, but the real crime was as you might expect, perpetrated by councillor Peter Craske. His name is all over the original documentation.
It was Craske who was supposed to present his scheme at the Public Realm Scrutiny Committee meeting on 21st June 2012 but he was unavoidably detained by Police Commander Victor Olisa who was too new to the borough to know that you are not supposed to do that sort of thing to council members - he soon learned.
In his absence someone else made the presentation, someone from the design consultants if I remember correctly, and everyone was suitably impressed, me included. At the time I said “David Bryce-Smith (Deputy Director (Development, Housing and Community Safety) is master-minding the project which given the disasters imposed on other parts of town, the obstacle courses, the non-negotiable roundabouts and artificially created congestion, whether it be his scheme or Frizoni’s, it doesn’t bode well, but on paper at least the latest wheeze looks rather nice”.
And it did look nice, nicer than the reality because the colours have been lost along the way.
Craske’s report said that residents and businesses had been consulted; “the report was placed on the council’s website … A consultation leaflet was produced and distributed, explaining the purpose and nature of the scheme. A short questionnaire was included for completion. Exhibitions of the drawings were held at the Bexleyheath Central Library, the Broadway shopping mall and the Civic Offices.”
I confess I didn’t notice and the council report does not reveal how many did. But suffice to say the pretty pictures and promise of more trees were “welcomed”. How many respondents were qualified traffic flow design engineers will for ever remain a mystery. Craske had all the evidence he needed to splash £3·5 million on his legacy to Bexleyheath.
It may have been better to stop and think how one might guide traffic coming from two directions on to the left side of a dual carriageway. A roundabout would do the trick, but a town square? No I don’t think so.
Eastbound traffic that has safely traversed two ‘shared spaces’ picking its way through pedestrians slowly but surely; why should it expect the third shared space to be any different? It looks the same as the other two, why is slowly and surely not good enough for this one?
The straight road with a wide central reservation looks like a dual carriageway. Some drivers will believe it is a dual carriageway and drive accordingly.
Did none of councillor Craske’s staff think about that? Surely he should have worked it out for himself but maybe he spends so much time defending gambling for his employers he sees life itself as a game of chance.
Maybe as this morning’s correspondent says, it really is time that this miserable shower of self-serving wastrels were given the order of the Bexley Boot.
As usual, click any image for enlarged copies - and see how different the plan put before residents is from what has been delivered.