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Bonkers Blog February 2014

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22 February (Part 1) - Bexley economics

CampbellThe report a couple of days ago about the vandalised parking machines in Abbey Road not far from Abbey Wood station, in which it was suggested the machines cost in the region of three thousand pounds each has brought forth a letter from Bexley council which makes it clear the figure is wrong. Completely wrong. The machines cost nothing at all.

This financial sleight of hand is based on the fact that the machines were already held in store and not purchased specially. Ergo they cost nothing.

The letter dated Friday 23rd September - the photograph was taken on the following Monday at 10:37 - goes on to say that installation of the ‘free’ machines cost £10,000 if road marking is included. The road markings consist of poorly applied double end demarcation lines. The long one already existed. (Note the cycle track down the ‘middle’ of the road.) Maybe councillor Val Clark’s assertion at last Thursday’s Crime and Disorder Committee meeting, that contractors double the price if they see a council job coming, is true.

You may find the financial logic behind keeping half a dozen or more parking machine in store and then not putting a value on them to be strange, but it seems to me that is not their only mistake. Bexley council “intends”, if their letter can be believed, to charge Crossrail for the cost of installing the machines because Crossrail took over the Felixstowe Road car park for their Abbey Wood base.

I’m no accountant but if Bexley council has rented out its car park to Crossrail should it not be at a level that covers all its consequential losses? The lost parking revenue, the cost of alternative arrangements and the fee for the Public Notice in the News Shopper etc.

Putting £3.80 for two hours parking machines in several roads around the station was Mike Frizoni’s decision. He didn’t have to do anything, he could have just extended the free parking which exists in Abbey Road up to just behind the photographer’s position in the associated photograph.

I can imagine that Crossrail will just tell Bexley where to go if they receive an unexpected bill from a council which has so much difficulty with adding up.


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