Over recent weeks I have had the privilege of seeing some of the
correspondence the council is sending to residents who enquire about the
doubling of the cost of a residents parking permit.
It is as you would expect mainly obfuscation and evasion. By my calculation 23 separate
questions have been put over a period of six weeks and I dont think any has been given a
fulsome answer, most questions have not been answered at all. It is clear, because he said so,
that councillor Craske has banned his Conservative colleagues from replying to their own constituents
because he claims the whole thing was his idea and he authorised this years increase -
to be followed by a similar one next year. Gagging his colleagues is exactly what you might
expect of a petty dictator.
I have seen his name appended to emails in which he absolutely refuses to answer
direct questions about the way this price increase came about, preferring
instead to take irrelevant swipes at the previous Labour administration. When
asked again to answer a question he replies in the time honoured way of someone
who has lost the argument I have nothing to add to what I have already said.
So the arrogant little tyke has banned his colleagues from replying to questions and he
refuses to do so himself. But dissecting all the councils non-answers does reveal
a few things of interest.
It would seem that the original plan to double the price dates from
before the election but strangely absent from any election address. No-one
outside the council was consulted on the subject nor has anyone been allowed to
question any of the figures bandied about by Craske. None of the permit holders
were told of the impending price increase nor was it announced on the councils
website until some weeks after its introduction - and only then in response to a
specific complaint. At least that might be construed as a rare example of
Listening to you.
When I examined the cost of operating the boroughs CPZs on 9th September (a
staggering £250 a permit in case you have forgotten) I based the cost of marking
out the bays on them being repainted every ten years, however it seems that none
were repainted last year. So that looks like £36,000 for nothing at
all - and if I am wrong on that blame it on Craskes refusal to answer a
straight question. Another thing that Craske refuses to answer is whether anyone
has looked at why it costs so much to manage the CPZ operation. You would think
that £330,000 per annum would be enough to staff a fantastically efficient outfit
absolutely on the ball in every detail wouldnt you? Such a sum must pay for something
like ten people (Craske typically refuses to say) even at the silly rates
of pay these people award themselves. But no, its a shambles. The council
admits it doesnt know anything about who has a permit, whether some residents
have more than one permit, or even if they are entitled to hold a permit. It
is presumably why they cannot email out renewal notices (the council says most
people have purchased a permit on-line) and have to rely on notices placed on
windscreens they happen to notice. Just what are all those staff doing if the
scheme is so basic that all they do is take your money and send out a piece of
paper in the post? Presumably the department is run by rejects from the road
So we have got to the situation where Craske
and his Conservative cohorts decided on the new price in the spring, introduced it in
the summer and eventually announced it on their website in early autumn. Didnt
consult anyone, wont answer questions about how their figures were arrived at
and have removed (compared to what was published last year) the breakdown of
outgoings and income from their website to make it even more difficult to check up on
their maladministration and secretive manipulation of figures they refuse to justify
- probably because they cant.
The only thing that Craske and the complainers seem to agree on is that no one
expects the parking permits to be subsidised but he refuses to see that the
point at issue is his refusal to stand back and ask himself how in hell can it cost
£250 to issue a tiny piece of paper?, especially when no attempt is made to do
anything more than the essentials - like bank the money and issue the damn things.
Maybe this disreputable undemocratic disgrace to the Conservative party would do well
to compare the cost of a parking permit with that of a cars tax disc. The price
of a permit to maybe find a space to stop in Bexley is not very different to what it
costs a small car owner to freely roam the entire Kingdom. How can this cretinous
apology for a councillor ever come to believe that it should cost much
the same to run a scheme that requires him to maintain a few miles of white line
with one that maintains the road transport infrastructure for the whole country?
All his other claimed expenses; staff, permit production, safety schemes and
computers have their equivalents with car tax admin. The only difference is that
one pays for a few miles of white paint, the other pays for motorways and
bridges. Craske simply
hasnt got a clue about managing anything has he? Maybe he should be wearing a
Charlie Chaplin moustache not a blue rosette. A comedian and a dictator all rolled into one.
It is illegal for Bexley council to be aiming to make a profit out of its
CPZ operation and disregard for the law is something for which Bexley council is
rightly reviled. Do we need to be reminded of the cover-up over their recent
leaders credit card activity, an offence for which he is now serving a
suspended prison sentence? I know at least one group campaigning on the CPZ
pricing issue is considering recourse to the law. I wonder if Craske would refuse to
answer questions from a judge too.