Thursday, 7 July 2011

Big Society? What Big Society?

John Howard took matters into his own hands after Essex County Council refused to repaint the line outside his home, which stops motorists obstructing his and neighbours’ driveways.

A single solid white line was painted on the road more than ten years ago after residents complained they were being blocked in by customers visiting car showrooms in Ipswich Road, Colchester.
Because it’s not being maintained by the council. Of course.
When it faded, Mr Howard called the council to ask them to repaint it, but was told they no longer maintained white lines.
So, taking iDave’s advice to heart, Mr Howard thought he’d do the cash-strapped council a favour and donate some paint and some time:
So armed with a pot of paint, he marked out the line again himself, adding an extra broken line for “emphasis”.
I bet the council is plea…

Oh:
He has now been told he must remove it or pay the cost of the clean-up.
*sigh* Is anyone surprised?
St John’s ward councillors Paul Smith and Ray Gamble support Mr Howard and have accused the county council of heavy-handed tactics.

Mr Smith added: “I think it is amazing the county council has the resources to threaten Mr Howard with action, but it doesn’t have the resources to repair potholes and fix the roads.

“All he is trying to do is make things safer outside his house. Surely the county council should encourage people to do that, not penalise them. This is what the Big Society is all about.”
Hey, you might think so…
An Essex County Council spokesman said: “Essex residents should not paint lines in the road.

“In order to ensure that parking restrictions can be enforceable, these need to be carried out by Essex County Council.

“Officers currently have to prioritise their workload to ensure urgent road defects are repaired first.”
And if we all realised that you can paint a line on the road without first arranging a visit to the site to assess the work, then another to mark out where the white line is to be painted, then yet another to check this has been done in accordance with health and safety before actually getting around to painting the damned thing, we might start to wonder what we pay the council for….

14 comments:

Gallovidian said...

He should just have restored the original one, no problem there.

Anonymous said...

We have some kind of right in common law on public nuisance - in stopping and removing same. This has worked in cases like smashing someone's quarter-light and pushing the offending car out of the way. Painting the lines could be seen as reasonable given the council's refusal.

Clarissa said...

My local council (which features on this blog quite often) apparently found some old tins of yellow and white paint and a ruler down the back of the CEOs sofa a few months back judging from the sudden profusion of marked parking spaces where there were once none.

It is taking them a damn sight longer to make some of the roads look more like roads then the surface of the moon mind.

Captain Haddock said...

I'll bet that the Council "spokesman" has a favourite Christmas Carol too ..

And I bet it goes something like this ..

"A dog in a manger .."

Rob said...

Council says they don't do it anymore, then says only they can do it. Twats

KenS said...

We had a vaguely similar issue some years ago on the airbase I worked at. The secondary public road leading to the airbase was blocked with snow. The airbase offered to clear it. The council insisted that it was their (the council's) job to do it. But refused to do it because they didn't have the manpower.

Captain Haddock said...

I thought that fat, vociferous, useless lump of lard, Pickles was supposed to be reinign-in these crack-pot Councils ..

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"In order to ensure that parking restrictions can be enforceable, these need to be carried out by Essex County Council."

I'd like to see the law that says that.

To be polite about it, I reckon they are talking bollocks.

Angry Exile said...

His best bet could have been to paint the line and then write a letter to the council thanking them for painting the line. They'd have probably sent someone to remove it, and then he could ask why not repaint it instead, but there's the outside chance they might have taken the credit for it and left it there.

Zebra stripes said...

The danger to the council is not white or yellow paint, but black.

Armed with a stout brush and good tin of black paint, a resolute motorist could paint out yellow lines wherever there was a need to park. Imagine the confusion on the face of the traffic warden on finding a strange gap in the double yellows and a car sat happily, but perfectly, in the new gap.

Nightwatchstate said...

When is everyone going to realise that no matter shape or form the government takes, it will always be a bunch of officious cunts who use the "law" to tread all over anyone they can for fun.

And people think the health service should be nationalised. Retards.

microdave said...

Plenty of companies have "self certification" schemes operating. Of course a Public body like the council would never consider such a thing as it might mean reducing staff numbers...

JuliaM said...

"He should just have restored the original one, no problem there."

And not told the council!

"Painting the lines could be seen as reasonable given the council's refusal."

It'd be interesting to see this come to court, wouldn't it?

"It is taking them a damn sight longer to make some of the roads look more like roads then the surface of the moon mind."

Oh, indeed! Some potholes are so vast, I expect to see lakes forming at the next downpour..

"The airbase offered to clear it. The council insisted that it was their (the council's) job to do it. But refused to do it because they didn't have the manpower."

/facepalm

JuliaM said...

"...but there's the outside chance they might have taken the credit for it and left it there."

Better yet, just not write a letter at all, and see if anyone noticed. And if they did, tell them the men who arrived to do it had council uniforms...

"Imagine the confusion on the face of the traffic warden on finding a strange gap in the double yellows and a car sat happily, but perfectly, in the new gap."

Given that, three years ago, when they came to paint yellow and white lines for the resident parking scheme in my area, they couldn't move some cars, we still have those gaps. They never came back to paint them.