Back in 2012, as if by magic, a sign appeared at the end of my road. It wasn’t magic. It was the Council. Or rather, it was the Councillor.
What the sign said, was “Residents Parking Only Beyond This Point”. I had a few questions alog the lines of:
- Why were residents not consulted?
- Does this mean that we now have to start faffing about with parking permits?
It turned out that the sign had no legal force. It been put up at the request of a local County Councillor using a pot of money that County Councillors are given for such things. Further investigation revealed that it had been put up in response to a complaint about parking problems related to the local swimming pool. There was indeed such a problem in relation to a specific annual event, but, as I pointed out, this was one weekend a year, could be managed by liaising with the event organisers and anyway, the pool was due to be closed.
There was a certain amount of to-ing and fro-ing and in the end I submitted a formal complaint about the governance (or lack of governance) of the Councillor’s Discretionary Fund and the lack of evidence based decision making.
“However, I remain concerned about the general point highlighted by this case, which is that councillors can spend public money without any apparent safeguards to ensure that there is some sort of evidence-based case to support the expenditure.”
This morning, residents had an email pushed through their letter box to the effect that the sign had been removed because
- non-residents had sussed out that there wasn’t really a parking restriction
- non-residents had been confronted by residents about parking and were understandably agrieved
- Parking Enforcement Officers had received complaints about not enforcing the unenforceable parking restriction.
- The email also specifically described the sign as “illegal”.
The sign has, indeed been removed. So, here are some new questions:
1. If the sign is illegal now, was it illegal in 2012?
2. How much public money has been spent on this fiasco?
3. How much time have Council officers spent dealing with this ill-thought out scheme? And how much grief have they had to put up with?
4. If we really do start having parking problems (a strong possibility due to the decision to build houses an the site of the former swimming pool), will we then have to go through the whole process of getting proper legal parking restrictions?
5. Is it any wonder that people don’t have confidence in politicians?
As a concsiencious citizen, I’m contemplating how to use my vote in the forthcoming General Election. As of this morning, I’m starting to warm to the local Tea Party Candidate.