Thursday, September 18, 2008

Form and Functionality

Following on from the “Cost of Failure” post [and the comments] my portly friend, Richard Cooper, has sent me some photos of the new “sculpture” at the Elmcroft Avenue entrance to Roding Valley Park.

the new restriction apparatus at Elmcroft AvenueThis is one, or shall we say the latest, attempt at designing a gateway that will allow “nice” people into the park, and prevent “undesirables” from gaining access. We have had several versions of gates to allow horse riders in, all of which it seems deterred the horses and had no effect on scrambler bikes. You don’t say!!!! Now I may be a bit thick, but the horses I’ve seen are a darn sight bigger than scrambler bikes. And if you are fit enough to ride a bicycle or a scrambler bike, it’s quite likely you are fit enough to lift it over this new “barrier”. Besides which there are numerous other places where there is free unobstructed access to the park.

The Parks Police, initiated by former council Leader Laurence Davies and headed up by former borough commander John Boylin, have now pretty much got the scrambler bike problem under control. So, the question is – do we really need to keep wasting spending tax payer's money on trying to prevent a problem that is already under control, in a way that is just not going to work short of building a bloody great wall with manned attached sign saying shaping our future together It’s a nice colour though, don’t you think?


  1. Placed somewhat lower down they could seriously damage the future of the human race in this area!

  2. Yes, Morris, quite how do heavily pregnant women get into the park?

  3. If the device does the kind of damage I had in mind then the women won't even be able to get pregnant!!!

  4. Lewisham have been removing barriers to parks, so cyclists (and those with prams, in wheelchairs, recumbrant bikes etc) can access them. The cycling officer was delighted when, after her work in getting this done, she met a mother with her disabled daughter on a bike in the park - a park she previously couldn't access because of barriers. It's time to stop putting these silly things up. If there's a problem with motorbikes using the park - have some enforcement action, but don't stop others from getting in! End of my rant!

  5. Morris,
    Might precipitate a run on a different kind of bank though?

    Rants welcome.

  6. It may have solved the scrambler bike problem in some parts of the borough, but here in good old Hainault the problem persists.

    The local 'yoof' and not so local, now ride their bikes around the streets and local alley ways, not to mention the local 'rec' which is the problem of Epping Forest Council.

    At a local HCP meeting I raised the point that a local Motocross track might solve the problem of Motocross bikes being ridden in the boroughs parks and open spaces?

    All were in agreeance that such a track would be a good idea, and would solve a lot of problems.

    However I was advised that such a motocross track had been proposed a few years back, but land could not be found, or their were 'elf and safety issues for not finding a place for the local 'yoof' to ride their bikes.

    Only when one of the kids or adults goes under the wheels of a vehicle will the powers that be, wring their hands and claim that the bikes should not be on the streets anyway.

    Well NEWS people...this has been going on for over 30 years, the 'yoof' like motocross bikes, and will ride them wherever they can, how about PROVIDING a SAFE ENVIROMENT AWAY FROM HOUSES and people, where the kids can ride safe in the knowledge that they are allowed to ride and not break the law?

    Who knows it might even reduce local youth crime as it will give the 'yoof' something constructive to do.

    North Weald have had a motocross track for years, yes bikes are dangerous, and any form of motorsport carries a degree of risk, but anything is better than 'yoof' riding motocross bikes on our streets and housing estates, putting themselves and others in danger, breaking the law and annoying everyone with the noise.

    They only need a large field away from houses...any offers??


  7. You are quite right Newbie.
    This goes a long way back and legit provision has been raised many times.
    I sometimes wonder whether Elf 'n Safety and Political Correctness are the problem or whether they are just used as an excuse for inertia.

  8. Well inertia, or 'elf'n'safety do not pay the bills, or attract investment into the borough.

    Have a look here to see what can be achieved with a bit of forethought.

    Oh and I forgot to mention it is a multi million pound industry, the bikes cost upwards of £5000 each, then there are the spare parts, clothing, and of course PAYING to ride the bikes at an approved circuit, that tests the riders level of skill.

    £50 a day per person per bike sounds about right + membership fees, onsite catering, tuition, bike hire, sponsorship etc £££££££ Kerching!!!

    Have we got any disused gravel pits in the borough???

    Lottery funding? youth crime prevention?, I bet it would cost a lot less to set up than the new cycle track at Hog Hill.

    Plant some trees around the perimiter of any land to deaden the noise, and i'm sure locals would approve.

    It would make our parks and open spaces safe once again, and kids with bikes would have no excuse for riding on unapproved land.

  9. I didn't sign the last post, and my guestimate at prices was way off,

    Try here for a guide price, £40 for 40 minutes, I can hear the accountants cogs turning from here.....


  10. For that Newbie, you need a council with some imagination and drive. Not one that sits contemplating its navel.

  11. Dear Newbie,
    You are taking issues away from the original topic, but B21 dont mind that they find it exciting, so I'll take this a step further. Finding things for the kids to do, to keep them out of mischief is always a problem. So often, ideas aimed at capturing the kids interests are dismissed by the Council on H&S grounds "Sorry we cant do that,
    cant get insurance for that, too risky"
    At last weeks 'Bridge Ward' Neighbourhood Watch meeting our Police Sgt. Stephanie Beirne asked " Does anyone know where all the kids have gone? she was amazed that there had been no reports of
    A.S.B. or complaints from residents about gangs hanging about during the kids summer holidays. The reply came back quickly.
    " They're all lining up to play Tennis and Basketball on the new courts in Ray Park"
    Thanks to John Boylin the tennis and basketball courts had been resurfaced and marked out in such fabulous atractive colours they just compelled you to play on them. I can confirm this was the case, when I as there a few weeks earlier there were masses of kids there most playing some waiting. Adults were watching ( including me) it was true heartwarming to see all these kids just enjoying themselves so much.
    Now I have read £55k has been granted for more activities aimed at the younger generation 8-11year olds. At last sense is prevailing, give the kids something to do other than hanging around and the street corners and you wont know they're there.
    It took a 13 year old boy to ask if the tennis courts could be done up, and that was three years ago. Sorry kids its taken so long to share a bit of our money out with you.
    Devil finds work for idle hands.
    Ron King

  12. Well the Hog Hill Cycle Track has been constructed, so anything is possible.

    I do not know how much revenue the push bike track generates, but I can GUARANTEE, that if such a track was purpose built for motocross bikes, it would pay for itself very quickly.

    People would travel from across the country to ride on a well constructed course, it would create local jobs and investment, and not be built upon peoples 'misery' I'E race horse gambling.

    You would see shops opening up to support the industry, instead of closing, as was the case in Fencepiece Rd when the Police Office opened in the same parade as the bike shop.

    This is a multi million pound industry, Hainault has had motocross bikes tearing around the estate for over thirty years, despite all the efforts to stop it, why not provide a place to ride and CHARGE to ride the course?

    Quit naval gazing and get doing, the Hog Hill Cycle track is a start, give the youth somewhere legal to ride!


  13. Not only is it exciting Ron, but it provides material for further postings - like this one ;)

  14. Newbie,
    The Hog Hill cycle track was built with Olympic money to replace the one that was bulldozed in Stratford to make way for ---- the Olympics.

    That it is in Redbridge is not necessarily a sign of a vibrant and forward looking council.

  15. One of the objections from the 'elf 'n'safety lobby opposing the old course was "people will be encouraged to illegally ride their bikes to the venue", er HELLO, if the council, OWN the course they can state who rides and who does not.

    Turn up on your 'crosser, with no visible means of transporting that bike and you can push it home again.

    Get designated driver with three bikes just rolled off his three bike trailer to vouch that, little jimmy and his two buddies have just pulled their machines off the three bike trailer, is an easy way to deter illegal riding to the "Redbridge MotoPark".

    An i'll pass on the obligatory 50k consultancy's a winner..Trust Me :)


  16. Portly! Maybe as long as it's a good year ole chat. (Yes that is chat)
    The problem with this structure is that I also have size 12.5 shoes thus I have to raise on to my toes to exit this aperture sideways, in so doing I seem to have damaged something internally - I'm not a well man y'know.
    So, although, to some, these structures may look wonderful, and do conform to a drawing-board's restrictions, they do not work practically.
    If an exit is impeded by any structure which involves the person resorting to contortion exercises - It don't work OK Mr/Mrs Designer.
    Similarly, I noticed a wheelchair occupant having to lower their head to avoid the overhead jutty bits.
    And the wheelchair aperture is only able to accommodate one type of wheelchair. Note: there are over 42 designs of wheelchair ranging from the one the designer of this structure used (the smallest in dimensions it seems) to the motorised and of course the Para Olympic type which are necessarily wider at the base to accommodate the stability factor.
    By the way I'm sure B21 will break up those two when they get out of the other side of the imposed structure contortion (Mr/Mrs - Mr stroke Mrs C'mon.)
    It still goes to asking the same question - why does Redbridge Council not check Contracts at the design stage and why are they so hung-up on accepting "It Conforms to X Standards".
    Redbridge Council - invariably Contractors do (no not try to) do offer the minimum they can get away with for an extorted price.
    Somewhere in Hansard there are papers showing that all Government Departs (National and Local) have contracts costing in excess of 200% above the normal commercial rates.
    Still in 2008 no one in Council Circles is brave enough to put a stop to this and other overcharging techniques.
    Why is that?
    Answers on a postcard to........
    As you say B21 the paint has a lovely finish and actually matches in with the area, unlike the Bridge across the Roding behind the Chigwell Road Church that has just been painted WHITE???

    Richard Cooper
    Off to visit the Aldersbrook Allotment Open day now - keep your eyes Open the Redbridge allotment land sales is hotting up.

  17. Richard asks why all Government Departs (National and Local) have contracts costing in excess of 200% above the normal commercial rates?

    Could it be that this artificially inflates the money-go-round, keeps GDP high and growing, giving the illusion of a sound economy and economic stability? Why else would they want those large costly projects that always fail to deliver? They are using cost of failure as an economic driver.

    What we are seeing is not just the result of bad debt in the sub-prime market but wholesale incompetence in government. Our government are inflating a tax bubble – and bubbles burst.

  18. Since B21 does not mind too much veering off course, having just read Richard or rep reference to Aldersbrook allotments, I would have loved to go but I am tired after a highly successful morning at Fullwell allotments.(Not a bit of gardening done!)
    We are now in the nice situation to wonder where we are going to put prospective plot holders. (Judith can rejoice: we are going to tidy up along Fullwell.) We are also just instigating new projects, one involving children, one involving mentoring of needy families by an outside group.)
    We can now be tough on non achievers and my experience at voicing my opinions in a safe way is proving useful and is producing unexpected results: people come to see me to say they like what they are reading!
    I don't think everybody at the Cabinet would enjoy knowing that!
    Out of adversity,...

  19. Anne, you are doing something useful, practical and helpful in the allotments - forget about Cabinet members, your contribution to the community via the Fullwell Ave allotments is much more important.

    ps. it's 7am, and a flock of geese have just flown past - autumn is really here.

  20. Let's just hope that the important work done by Anne and others on the allotments is fully recognised by the council's cabinet when it considers the results of the "Conversation".

    PS: It is 11.43 and some pigs have just flown by. Some of them bore strong facial resemblances to......

  21. Judith: me woman, me can multi task.
    I will not say Cabinet anymore (because this is tainting everybody, etc, ...)
    I really enjoy what's going on.
    However, all this is not a patch on mealtimes at home in France, under paternal control.( A brood of seven and a twice daily ordeal!)