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Bonkers Blog July 2015

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10 July (Part 1) - Feedback

A few readers’ comments from yesterday to start this fine sunny Friday and with luck something more substantial later.

The Bin Tax
My experience at the door on Wednesday is being repeated across the borough. Some of the paid propagandists have been happy to talk, despite being adorned in Bexley regalia they are temporary staff hired in from across south London.

One at least was given a lesson in Bexley politics and the mathematics of the bin tax. Less collected at greater cost and one of the highest council tax rates around, he was told. Suitably educated he departed “feeling like a complete tit”. With language like that, this temporary worker obviously didn’t come from Bexley.

Bexley Bridge
The postbag suggests that the bridge over the River Cray in Bexley continues to occupy local residents’ minds. An attempt to secure local councillor opinion has been less than successful. It is reported that councillor Colin Tandy was prepared to say no more than “I am advised that it is fit for purpose at present”. I suppose it is or it would fall down although a 7·5 tonne weight limit on an A road might be judged otherwise.

The Bexley bridge is as far as I am concerned, something to be avoided at all costs and living 15 minutes drive away I am not best placed to judge local opinion. Mine is that a 140 year old bridge built to carry horse and carts will almost certainly be in need of replacement. My interest in the subject is as always, whether Bexley council can be relied upon to go about its business honestly.

The council’s official report says that the bridge was built in 1872 and first assessed as weak in 1992 when the weight limit was imposed. So far so factual but then Bexley’s report takes a trip into fantasy land.

It says the restriction is “enforced by the police” when correspondence between residents and police, which I have seen, makes it amply clear the police simply do not have the spare manpower for such things. “This arrangement has proved very effective” the report goes on to say which seems doubtful in the circumstances. Maybe that sort of falsehood for which Bexley council is renowned is upsetting the locals too, the people who will suffer 18 months of disruption when the bridge is replaced, in part due to the failure to enforce the restriction.

The council’s report goes on to say that the bridge is getting weaker - what do they expect with no enforcement - if it were taxpayers might not now be faced with a £1·7 million bill. Bexley, as usual, excuses the impact on taxpayers by saying TfL will pick up the tab as if Boris himself is dipping into his own pocket instead of ours.

It remains a puzzle as to why the council report on planning for the new bridge says the continued 7·5 tonne restriction is for “technical reasons”. A restriction to preserve the village’s narrow roads is understandable but ‘technical’ implies another weak bridge. Perhaps it’s yet another part of the report that should be take with a pinch of salt.

At the Transport Users’ Committee meeting last Tuesday, it was confirmed that the council has not as yet dreamed up any traffic disruption mitigation scheme. I suppose that is fine, it is not as though they ever devote much thought to such things.

No one reads Bonkers
That is more of less what was said to me at Thursday’s General Purposes meeting. I don’t really know how many people do. Statistics obtained from web servers and Google can be made to say almost anything.

Tweet If I take the reported number of unique visits in each month since 2009 and add them up the figure goes well over two million. It may sound impressive but it must be the case that the regular unique visitors last month are likely to be in large part the same unique visitors from May.

Probably my friend @ErithLink knows more about these things that I do. I’m in it for the long term drip drip drip effect of exposing Bexley council’s constant dishonesty. Fortunately this week provided a new drip. Its name is Nigel Betts.


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