Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Doing Lines

[...] any run-in with a council always shows up laughable procedures and jaw-dropping incompetence, so it's tantalising as to what this particular one will bring.
So commented I with regard to our ongoing bit of fun with the council local to my business (more background here).

And, as predicted, this dispute doesn't look like it will disappoint ... in fact on current form, it could be a long-running seam of amusement.

On Monday a council truck turned up unannounced to paint yellow lines in the car park entrance. Not that it bothers us as we never parked there anyway, but a couple of local residents did, so the collateral damage from a vindictive anonymong complaint has begun already (more on that later).

Four of us poured ourselves a cuppa and went out to watch at close quarters as the council workers (decent guys, as it happens) - sweltering in the heat under their obligatory dayglo jackets - got to work, painting a double yellow on one side in double quick time. Very impressive. The problems started when they attempted to do the same on the other side.

After prodding a broom at a few bits of gravel, they came to the conclusion that the paint wouldn't stick as the surface wasn't flat enough. So they did the municipal equivalent of calling for back up.

"We'll have to get someone with a bigger broom", said one of the two, before they offered a cheery adieu and drove off. One would have assumed that a team detailed to paint yellow lines would be supplied with all equipment required for the job they were sent to do, but hey, I'm a private sector businessman, what do I know? No sign of the mythical nuclear broom thus far, though.

The result is a shiny new double yellow line on the side of the entrance no-one ever parked on, and nothing on the side that they did.

Since then, two residents have complained that the parking in the street, which the council have said they are happy for us to be forced to use, is now so crowded that they are experiencing a lot of problems, including one household occupied by an MS sufferer with an autistic kid. Fortunately, none have blamed us (especially as we are on the ground and trying to co-ordinate the parking that the council have offered no thought towards), but are spitting feathers at the council instead. As is a resident of the home, himself a former councillor, who is angry at being made to buy a permit to solve a non-existent problem, and has marched up to the town hall to forensically question their procedures.

Meanwhile, the 20 space car park is still, tauntingly to the local residents, empty.

To be continued, I'm sure.


JuliaM said...

My mother's local council recently added resident-permit parking outside her house. The yellow lines were painted around parked cars (and the haven't returned to finish the job), have no 'bar' terminator and one of the parking bays is clearly 6 inches thinner than it should be.

I've printed out appeal notices for her to hand out to anyone who gets a ticket... ;D

Pavlov's Cat said...


Had not quite similar thing outside our office re equipment and supplies.

Where we congregate to smoke (Govt office no smoking within 10 feet)
Is at an entrance to a well used private car park.

At some time in the past, someone dug a trench across it, Cable TV, Gas , BT. It matters not

They then refilled it as is their won't with paper mache, sawdust and spit, covering it with a bumpy layer of tarmac that even your local pikey Paddy O'Tarmac would be ashamed of.

It obviously cracked & lifted and holes started to appear.


Day 1. Lorry from BEACH (they have the contract round here) turns up.
3 guys, pneumatic drill, dig out 2 affected areas, sweep out, take away rubble, place 2 cones on resulting holes.

Day 2. Nothing

Day 3. Another Lorry from BEACH. 3 different guys, mix and pour about 2 buckets of concrete into base of aforementioned holes.
Cones replaced over holes.

Day 4. Nothing (got to let the concrete dry, it was an inch thick for gods sake, done in the morning would have been dry by the afternoon)

Day 5. Another lorry from BEACH (could have been the first one, in Hi-Vis every looks same, you only see the jacket)
2 buckets of tarmac laid and flattened.

Days 6&7 The weekend (Except cones have been flattened by goods vehicles using the entrance)

Day 8. Supervisor in BEACH Escort van drives past, does not stop or leave vehicle to inspect the work.
Just slows and looks out the window at the 'patching'

So minimum 7 men, took over week for a job that it would have taken 1 man at most 2 days , and that was to let the concrete ‘go off’ and he could have gone elsewhere in the meantime.

Job done, trebles all round, somebody's getting 'paid' and it sure as hell ain't me.

TheFatBigot said...

I had something similar when a new electricity supply was being put in to FatBigot Towers (EDF did the "work", if memory holds).

Day 1: Team of three turn up, remove paving slabs, dig hole around existing supply point, erect barriers.

Day 2: Two men turn up to replace supply-thingy. Hole not deep enough. They wait in car for over an hour while team of three arrives and one digs hole a bit deeper while other two chat to the two wiring fellows.

Day 3: Team of two fills in hole. Paving slabs not replaced because they are "hole team" not "paving team".

Day 4: Team of two replace paving slabs. Barriers parked next to hedge but not removed because they are not "barrier team".

Day 5: Barriers collected.

Five days spread over two weeks, six groups of men used; and all to replace the old mains electricity supply point with a new one for one house in a road of 155 houses.

The only saving grace, if it is that, is that replacing the gas supply took even longer.