Pickford Lane has been closed all week. Signs at its extremities on Long Lane and Crook Log tell drivers that the road ahead is closed and it is, totally, with side roads blocked off too. And the reason for this council imposed inconvenience and attack on local businesses? A simple resurfacing job. I assume the resurfacing was essential; if it was anything like Abbey Road with its myriad depressions, subsidence and ineffective drains it would have been a nightmare for pedestrians hoping to avoid a drenching on wet days. But why close the whole road instead of keeping one carriageway open with traffic controls? To suit Bexley councils convenience probably. With few of the staff having the initiative to have ever managed a business and suited only to protected jobs with gold-plated pensions they wouldnt have a clue about trying to make an honest living as a businessman. Much the same goes for the parasites who call themselves politicians. Few would have a clue what it is like to live without the sugar coating of endless expenses claims.
I left home at 7.30 this morning the thought crossed my mind that I should take
my camera with me every time I go out which turned out to be somewhat
prophetic because as I approached Fossington Road I spotted a van parked
across the cycle path and a man up a ladder. As I passed I guessed he might be
swapping the cycling signs which as I reported on
17 November last year, several were
mirror images of what they should have been. By the time I returned ten minutes
later the van had moved on to change the sign opposite Lesnes Abbey but as I
got close it drove off to the sign by the junction with Carrill Way. You can see
the sign there removed prior to replacement with a new one because I ran home to grab my camera.
Given the narrowness of the road, thanks to the idiocy of Conservative councillor Craske, the man had little option but to park on the pavement while he carried out council orders. If only Bexley council were competent and things got done right the first time we would all be a bit richer. And if only the numbskull Craske had not authorised Andrew Bashfords flawed case for narrowing the road without engaging what little brain power he possesses, the council might not have to raise £1m. of extra taxes because it claims to have lost out over government Freedom Pass funding.
For the record, on my minimum of two trips a day along this footpath, I have so far this month not seen a cyclist. Councillor Davey said the same.
News Shopper provides a rich store of council related stories. The
front page tells us that aluminium panels are being stolen from lamp posts in
huge quantities and that the electrical components are left exposed and
dangerous. This is I suppose an extension of last years
gully thefts and I have seen one
or two lamp posts with exposed wiring. In future I had better let the council
know. Councillor Craske is quoted by the newspaper and for once it is hard to
disagree with him. Its a pity that the comedian doesnt follow his own advice
because the work he inflicted on Abbey Road has left the public exposed to bare
electricity cables for six months or more. (Photograph taken 19th February.)
Among the papers reports of Bexley councils failure to fund community centres, failure to clear snow and failure to deal with dog mess there is a report that a nationally renowned sculptor has been commissioned to erect a public work of art in lower Belvedere, on a roundabout near the industrial estates away from the residential areas. It will presumably complement Eriths fish and whilst Belvedere is certainly in need of some sort of revamp after years of council neglect and worse, one must wonder in a time of austerity whether the money could be better spent. At least the money wont come directly from your council tax but I bet the London Development Agency which is responsible for it filches the money from us one way or another.
At the beginning of the year Bexley ditched Vinci Parking Services
in favour of NSL Services Group which now employs the traffic wardens patrolling our
streets. One of my contributors has today drawn my attention to the situation in other
London boroughs where the same company operates.
Press reports indicate they have warned wardens that they may be disciplined
if they dont meet the companys target of a minimum of 0·9 tickets an
hour. Kensington and Chelseas councillors are reported to have accused NSL
of breaking statutory guidelines which ban target setting. Soon after
the news broke nearby Westminster stripped NSL of their contract.
Here in Bexley we presumably suffer the same treatment as the Royal Borough. It is perhaps to be expected that a council with a long history of paying scant regard to parking regulations and which tops the revenue raising league tables, should cosy up to a company with similar habits.
councillors have complained in the past about the lack of a tube line in the borough,
but there are eight London boroughs without a tube station. What makes Bexley almost
unique and the complaint more valid is that it has no DLR, no TfL Overground and no
Tramlink either. Soon Crossrail will be added to the list but how ironic is it that
the council complains about its poor transport links while its own priorities appear
to be dismantling the system we do have and campaigning against plans to improve links
across the Thames? The photos show the changes currently being inflicted on Pickford Lane.
On 30 November last year roads throughout Bexley were affected by a vehicle fire in Blackwall tunnel and its subsequent closure and now the tunnel is again set for overnight closure starting next Monday for three whole years. It cant be much more than a couple of years since the southbound tunnel was fully opened after several years of refurbishment and overnight closures and I had expected that sooner or later the northerners would suffer the same problems getting home while their homeward tunnel was upgraded as we south Londoners did for such a long time. But that would be too simple. Mayor Boris blasted Johnson has dictated that his favoured north cannot be inconvenienced but it is OK to bash south London dwellers again. His promise to reintroduce the tunnel contra-flow proved to be another of his lies so there is no prospect of keeping both traffic flows running through the night and he blithely tells us to get ourselves down to Dartford instead. I bet the highly educated imbecile wont ever be put to that massive inconvenience, let alone every night, as will countless shift and night workers who try against the odds to keep London ticking over.
I confess to being absolutely furious about Boriss crass decision; all my London based relations live in the East and North East and I visit them at least weekly and return late. Its an impossible journey by public transport which as a Freedom Pass holder I am keen to use whenever I can, and doubling the journey time so late at night is not really a practical proposition, especially for three long years. The previous closure was bad enough but at least it wasnt every night. A similarly affected friend thinks Boris should be publicly strung up for his sins against south Londoners, and Im not surprised because the tunnel is not only impassable southbound, it will be restricted to 20 m.p.h. for the lucky northerners.
If Bexleys stupid Conservative council hadnt be so keen on short term political expediency and if it wasnt totally devoid of road planning expertise we might have had a new Thames crossing to look forward to in just a couple of years time, instead all we will have is average speed cameras in Blackwall tunnel and toll-booths.
Blackwalltunnel.com. What others have to say about it.
News Shopper came late this week so Ive only just
noticed the latest announcement from that nasty piece of work, councillor Craske. It has
been possible until recently to deal with parking issues in a variety of ways; on
line, by phone, by post, with cash in Erith or in person at the Parking Shop in Bexleyheath
Broadway. However on 29th January the shop closed. According to the council the reduced access to
parking services is to make services easier to access and Craske, the councils
transport motormouth reminds us that, Instead of having to go to pay their penalty
charge notices, motorists can now do so from the comfort of their own home.
Notice how Craskes statement implies that paying parking penalties is a civic honour that we should be proud to be paying, but even on the most optimistic interpretation of the councils own statistics one in six tickets are issued wrongly, and thats only counting those who decide to challenge them. How is Craskes grand plan going to help that one in six? Things can only be made more difficult by the total loss of face to face contact. Emailing and writing is fraught with difficulty because Bexley council cannot resist lying and law breaking. For Craske to present this change as an improvement illustrates only too well why he is not fit for office.
The photographs above come from a resident of Northumberland Heath and show the councils gestapo car parked on a yellow line last week while videoing anyone who stopped for a moment. They are supposed to put up warning signs when doing this but in my experience only one sign is ever displayed. I cant see it in either photograph but I expect one is around somewhere. When I spoke to the driver last December she said the car didnt monitor yellow line offences, only bus stops and school zigzags etc.
It is interesting that the car is still emblazoned with the Vinci Parking Services logo when Bexleys website says that they were ditched in favour of NSL Services Group at the end of last year.