Tuesday 22 April 2008 12.06am
has surpassed itself yet again. The level of incompetence and simple disregard for residents' welfare is astounding. Read on.
Tonight, densely residential Bermondsey Street
has been transformed into an all-night, all-week, arc-lighted, asphalt-lorried, road-scraping hell. And all this turns out to be a bit of a surprise to anyone who lives here...and also to the Council...and also to the contractors.
As Southwark Traffic's Arnold Bennett-Jones, resplendent in luminous jacket amongst half a dozen idled labourers, tonight acknowledged, no resident he has spoken to has received any notification whatsoever of these works.
In fact, Southwark itself has clearly been uninformed of its own contractors' activities, since the reason that so many site workers are resting on their shovels is that Southwark has not even issued its own notices to suspend residents' and disabled parking bays, so that the work has to be performed around parked cars (which quite properly cannot be removed, since no notification has been given). The works were planned to take 2 days, I was told by workmen tonight, but that now they will last "all week".
Since Bermondsey Street
was closed for 4 months recently for Thames Water without any noticeable effect on traffic, I have to ask whether the decision to perform this work at night, stinking out residents in their beds with hot asphalt fumes, with flashing amber lights, with steel road-beds being laid and with lorry-reversing beeps sounding all night long is not some perverse revenge for the rebuke which the Council received from residents for its loony traffic schemes in 2007(remember, two-way traffic, with a dedicated cycle lane in each direction, battling along a road which barley takes a single car in places - another triumph of non-consultation!)
Surely, this resurfacing activity should take place during the day-time at normal wage rates. Bermondsey Street
is unfortunately notorious for heavy-traffic speedsters but, to my knowledge, is not yet part of the national motorway system, which is where I would expect to see all-night roadworks.
The inefficiency of Southwark's administration, the profligacy of its double-time-earning, idled workforce and the lack of consideration towards its own Council Tax payers is staggering.
How difficult can it really be to issue notices in good time, enforce a simple closure of the street during daylight hours and get the job done in 2 days while paying day-time wage rates ?
I am tempted to conclude that such extensive mis-management can only be deliberate and must be calculated to benefit a third party. That would go beyond simple incompetence and into the realm of corruption.