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Bonkers Blog December 2014

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12 December (Part 1) - Who controls the roads? Conway or council?

Another reader updated me on the situation in Townley Road which was recently resurfaced. The council’s letter to residents announcing the forthcoming work set the alarm bells ringing by stating that there would be no vehicle access to houses except during the evening, enforced by tow-away trucks. This in turn led to enquiries about alternative parking arrangements and the inevitable response from Bexley council that they didn’t care, there wasn’t any, and offenders would be fined.
Townley Road
In the event none of that happened. Only one side of the road was affected at any one time and individual drives were disrupted for no more than 30 minutes each.

The writer of the council’s warning letter, Mr. Dave Saunders, as he likes to sign himself, was asked why it was so inaccurate. His reply said “the letter … is to give information but cannot provide detail of every aspect of the work as this may cause confusion”. Too much information may overload some people’s ability to process it but to assume that the majority of Bexley residents are unintelligent is not helpful and to supply them with pure misinformation instead is totally stupid.

Presumably Mr. Saunders is a colleague of Andrew Bashford, the road traffic engineer who in 2009 fed me so much nonsense about my own road that I was moved to start this website.

My correspondent also queried why Townley Road was seen as a resurfacing priority when there were far worse roads in the borough. The top end was constructed from concrete slabs in the 1930s which are not stable and cause cracks to the top surface but it is a localised problem and in the opinion of residents it does not warrant wholesale renewal. No remedial action was applied to the broken concrete which ensures a continuing supply of work for F.M. Conway, the council’s contractor. On that subject Mr. Saunders was strangely silent.

The exchange of views between a resident and Bexley council led to several phone calls, most of them abortive, because road planners tend to be out on the job. My correspondent was informed that the council does not issue them with mobile phones. How efficient is that?

Another weird thing is that Conway’s instructions were not to disrupt the road too much before nine o’clock because to do so would cause traffic chaos. The instruction was observed to the letter, however when the footpath needed attention, work started at seven thirty even though it involved coning off half the road causing rush hour chaos. Mr. Saunders said that was permissible. Another wonderful application of council logic. With brains like that employed you can begin to understand why so much of Bexley is often at a standstill.

Bexley council publishes a list of forthcoming road maintenance. Unfortunately it is far from comprehensive and only four jobs are listed between now and goodness knows when.


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