Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Recession? What Recession? (3)

Someone left an oddity lying around today ... a copy of the Times. So, since their stuff is hidden away from us these days, I couldn't resist a furtive look at what is so private we're not allowed to see it (just the kind of reaction hiding cigarettes will encourage, funnily enough).

One article rang a bell as it was linked to a piece covered here last month, and amusing it was too if you know the back story so, having found an online version, here's an update.

You may remember that the Lib Dem council in Sutton had spent £11m in two years on daft schemes - despite the recession - including a £3m revamp of the town centre. It has been a constant source of amusement for local Tory councillor Paul Scully, who followed up by describing a bit of a safety issue on the launch weekend.

Those that did come witnessed a giant robot, some giant painting and a giant accident when a lady in a motorised scooter drove off the edge of a raised platform on the new Trinity Square.
Oh dear. It would seem that someone at the town hall didn't do their risk assessments properly.

Which is exactly what today's Times article was about. Here's the local paper's account.

Last week the Sutton Guardian reported several of the new log benches on the High Street had been cordoned off because of a dangerous problem with the locking mechanism.

We can now reveal the problem was discovered after an elderly lady fell off one of them.

She said: “I tried to sit down but the whole log shifted away from me. I fell face first on to the floor with a tremendous crash. I was very shocked. Even the secure log seats are a potential danger to old age pensioners like myself. There are no handles to lower or raise yourself and the seats have no backs to them.”
So eager to spend taxpayers' cash were the Lib Dems, that none seemingly took a closer look at what they were actually installing.

Even the most risk-tolerant amongst us could spot that the bench above is an accident waiting to happen (likewise the wooden animals pictured last month) let alone a council which one presumes is riddled with health and safety advisers and risk assessment administrators.

Yet, as the article mentions, a councillor is rolled out to say that there are no problems, it isn't an almighty fuck up, no money has been wasted, and that everyone loves it ... except 100% of locals in the comments who express views to the contrary, of course.

Although this is a bit of a brazen example, we can all point to a council near us which treats the funds entrusted to them by the public in the same cavalier fashion. No-one takes responsibility, council taxpayers won't get any of the wasted cash back, no-one gets fired, and councillors organise a meeting to discuss what to waste money on next.

Meanwhile, some continue to tell us that the public sector is struggling for funds and that government not-quite-cuts will turn the country into an impoverished, anarchic, disease-ridden wasteland.

Don't get out much, do they?


BTS said...

A bit of an easy post there Mr P. As easy as..

Oh, come on, someone had to say it..

I was quite intrigued by Councillor McCoy's comment though: "New locking mechanisms are also to be fitted to these benches at no cost to the taxpayer."

How does that work exactly then? Somebody somewhere must presumably foot the bill..?

Mark Wadsworth said...

Does anybody know what those log benches looked like without a guard rail round them? Did they wobble somehow?

WV: mitype

Roger Thornhill said...

Park benches have worked for years. Simple. Elegant. Functional. Long lasting.

These logs are symbolic of the attempt to drag us back to an antediluvian existence. Probably cost more than a well made wooden park bench when all the wibble costs are included.

banned said...

I expect they were designed to foil skateboarders though I don't know if they would.

When they built a new Tesco Metro the "social +" was for Tesco to provide a fund that the locals could choose how to spend on enhancing the environment. They voted for better street lights, a few benches and some hanging baskets.
What they got was a monstrous metal and perspex 'installation' gaudilly illuminated at night which gets the same response from every visitor: "WTF is that?"

Of course it went X2 over budget which was met by the Council Tax payer. The council even admitted that mistakes had been made in the democratic process and that (hey-ho) "Lessons would be learned"!

Anonymous said...

Well, knowing about timber design i suspect they will split like buggery, and that if they havent relieve the inherient stress in logs that will happen unpredictably.

So come back in a year or so and then we will hear how someone got a massive splinter up the keiser.