by Prue Bray on 13 February, 2018
Sometimes being a councillor is immensely frustrating. Here is an example of one of my current frustrations. In the great scheme of things, not the most important issue ever. It is routine, has a solution, and could be sorted out without the council spending any of its own money. But nearly 5 years after I first started asking about it, we are no further forward. So the question I have to ask is: am I being too nice? If I shouted and screamed instead of asking politely, would I have got further with it by now? I fear the answer is yes, and what does that say about the way the council operates?
I’m not going to put any names in this piece – naming and shaming is not what I’m trying to do. This is one example of a systemic problem within the council, not a problem with specific individuals.
So this is the story:
There’s a road in Winnersh ward that should have been adopted by the council when it was built. Adoption means that the road becomes public highway, the council does the street lighting etc. But in this case there was a minor problem which needed rectifying before the council would adopt it. Fair enough, it happens. But no-one did anything about it. A few years after the houses were built I was asked about getting parking restrictions in the road because the residents were having some problems. But it couldn’t be done because the road was not adopted, even though it was supposed to have been. So I started chasing.
I chased in
Where there are gaps of a few months I was waiting for promised actions to materialise. (They didn’t, on the whole). Where the gaps are shorter, generally it’s because I got no response at all. At the moment I am still waiting for the update I was promised on 13th January.
In 2014 I was told what the cause of the problem was and what the solution was. By November 2017 I was still being told the same things, as if they were news. There has been no discernable progress.
I understand officers are busy. I understand resources are tight. But I have been told repeatedly that there is money in a bond from the developer which could be used to pay for any work that needs doing. It’s hard to say whether anyone is interested in sorting this out, because it is not important enough to ever be anyone’s priority.
It’s just one more small thing that helps make the councll look ineffective and uncaring.
So now I have come up with a new plan. I’ve written this blog entry. And I’m going to send the Tory Councillor in charge of Highways the link. He will probably make some sarky comment about playing party politics. But honestly, I’m done with trying to get this sorted out by being nice. It’s time to try something different.