Thursday, June 26, 2008

Highway Robbery

Picture of Central Library as it was before the works referred to below. Note that Oakfield Road has now been closed off at its southern end [the northern end is already closed by virtue of the High Street being pedestrianised]. Access to the Town Hall side entrance is now via a new road which runs east-west along the northern flank of the Kenneth More theatre which was a block turning leading to a parking area.

Guest Post from Morris Hickey

For some weeks now Clements Road in the area behind the Town Hall Jaguar enclosure (also known as a car park) has been either partially or wholly closed. Buses have been on diversion since February.

The home pages of the council's website were trumpeting the formal opening on the morning of Wednesday 18 June. For the first time publicly it disclosed that the section in question will be for buses, taxis, and pedal cycles only. It did not happen and the website currently refers vaguely to an unspecified date in July and the need for the legal process of a traffic order to be made.

The effective closure of a road to certain categories of traffic may well require a formal legal notice to be given with an opportunity for objections to be submitted. It would be courteous at least to give that notice before the work commences. Any sustainable objections would then be determined before large expenditure takes place. On 13 June, therefore, I sent an email to the Chief Engineering & Building Services Officer (the highways boss) asking for a copy of any such notice to be sent to me. None has yet arrived.

It is scandalous that such a major change can be made without public consultation. The works undertaken have undoubtedly cost a lot of money. The academic question of whether that money comes from TfL or Redbridge is irrelevant. Ultimately it is money filched from residents through their council tax.

Why has the road, even with its limited access, not yet been opened? Apparently its alignment is unsuitable for bendy buses at the right angle bend adjacent to the library and the theatre scenery store. So one has to ask which genius designed it, and why he still has a job! More money has to be thrown at this project to correct its defects. Of course - an easier and cheaper solution would be to dispense with the monsters and replace them with buses more suitable for the road network in the centre of Ilford.



  1. Thank you, Morris. I wondered when Barkingside 21 was going to get around to this fiasco. (Sorry, Ed; I meant to send you an e-mail about it.)

    Last week I spoke to one of the bus drivers who was at the "opening" ceremony, and it was he who pointed out that bendy buses coming in opposite directions would collide on the bend, because there wasn't enough clearance!

    At least two people need to be sacked. 1) The twerp who decided to buy bendy buses in the first place. They have been an unmitigated disaster that anyone with a scrap of common sense could have predicted. 2) The idiot who designed this new road works for the Council and didn't measure it up properly.

    They have now widened the curve by about 2 feet, and they're not making such a good job of it as they did the first time, presumably because the foreman suspects that it will need to be extended again, but he's going to let the bosses find out for the themselves when the next bus driver comes along to complain. This fiasco could drag on for many more months with the Council's moronic suck-it-and-see approach, relying on bus drivers rather than a decent architect with a tape measure. God knows how over budget this approach will take the project.

    Now you know why our incompetent council needs to raise £100,000,000. It's not so much for "improvements" as to pay for its cock-ups.

    Did anyone actually want this "improvement", apart from the building contractor and its friends on the Council? I haven't met anyone who thinks it's a good idea. In fact the opposite. People see it as unnecessary and dangerous. Driving a huge volume of buses across what will be in effect a pedestrian walkway is going to injure and kill a lot of unwary pedestrians. Maybe that's the idea: to get rid of the old folks by letting them mix with buses.

    This council couldn't organize a whatsit in a brewery, but it wants to sell our allotments, green spaces and car parks in order to fund its incompetence and its insanely grandiose plans. And where's the political opposition? It's agreeing with the Redbridge Conversation, which is clearly a confidence trick.

    The disabled have been unable to use Central Library for months. Bus services in Ilford have been utterly chaotic as a result of blocking off Clements Road, through which nearly all the bus routes travel in Ilford. It has been hell at certain bus stops with passengers denied access to the buses they think they want to catch but which are going in the opposite direction. I imagine it's been hell fot the bus drivers too, who must work with a frustrated public amid all this chaos.

    Has there been one word of apology from Redbridge Council over any part of this fiasco? No. All we hear from the Council is Gimme, gimme, gimme. It must have £100,000,000 to inflict more damage on Redbridge and to feather the nests of its contractors. I hope the police are keeping an eye on all this.

    I would still like to know why all the new street lamps along Barkingside High Street are being replaced. Did they plant the wrong street lamps in the first place? Is this another cock-up the Council refuses to own up to or merely its usual lack of foresight and planning?

    The sooner these vandals are out on their collective ear the better. But with the Tory Party on the up and up, I have a horrible feeling we're going to be stuck with them for a long time to come.

  2. These shower are doing the Conservatives a complete discredit. Does Conservative head office not monitor them or have any lee-way to sort them out. This latest event (a redesigned road not big enough for the buses)is yet ANOTHER example of incompetence.

  3. Well, dear Coxsoft, it all makes work for the Council Officer to do, (if you remember your Flanders&Swann, think the song about the gasman I recall).

    Were not bendy buses part of Livingstone's vision (and also a con from the EU)?

    And as far as councillors are concerned, only a few have the intelligence or desire to call Officers to account, and even fewer of them have been given Cabinet positions.

  4. For the lyrics of "The gasman cometh"...

  5. It seems that there is about as much (in)competance in this project as there is with the people doing the work in Valentines Park, which also has... a) taken far longer than we were first told it would;
    b) caused massive and generally unneccesary inconvenience to local people trying to use it as a route from a to b;
    C) seen some things (such as work on new entrance gates) needing to be done more than once - because apparently they got it wrong the first time!


  6. Do you know that last night at the cabinet meeting there was a strong delegation of people wanting to talk about the dire situation of the swimming pools in the borough.
    They spoke one after the other eloquently , beautifully, politely. And what were they told?
    Please make sure you fill in the responses for the Big Conversation so that we know how you really really feel!(Twice!) Then they were told they could go, and they did, without a murmur, because, they are civilised.
    I said my piece but was not told to respond to the Big Conversation!
    I am waiting to the last second!

  7. Be careful Anne,as there may be a strike on 16/17th, they could chop you off before you do it.


  8. To reply to dopeyf: I will select a momentous date for posting my reply to the Big Conversation: le quatorze juillet! Which is, coincidently, the date when I registered with the redbridgei, under B21 guidance!
    Oh, what a year!

  9. Funny you should say that coz I have just this moment been reminded that this blog was 2 years old on Sunday 29th June.

  10. So it started on my 70th birthday then!

  11. Another Crab eh!

    Emotional and loving
    Intuitive and imaginative
    Shrewd and cautious
    Protective and sympathetic

    On the dark side....

    Changeable and moody
    Overemotional and touchy
    Clinging and unable to let go

  12. Morris's admission of his age would have been moderated out on Redbrige I
    Happy birthday,


  13. Moderated out, dopeyf? Offensive, defamatory, or simply off topic?

  14. Archived?