Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Simon's Valentine Message

This is a guest post from Simon Smiler. He’s miffed because he can’t use, again, his prefered walk through Valentines Park, and has pre-empted the reply from Redbridge Council, below:

Memo to residents and visitors using Valentines Park,

From LBR Engineering and Building Services.

Please note that to permit what we see as essential footpath widening works the park entrance in Perth Road (opposite Lynton Crescent) will be closed for a while. This might be 3 weeks, it might be 6 - as yet we don't know but in common with other recent works in Valentines Park we expect things to take longer than originally anticipated, so for a change would rather not quote short timescales which prove to be widely over optimistic.

We accept that for over 100 years the existing footpath's width has been seen as satisfactory, but since the park already has the most magnificent flora and fauna, everyone in the borough is housed, all public buildings are in perfect physical shape, our schools are in perfect order / feature small class sizes / equipped with the latest hi-tech wizardry / provide nutritious & wholesome hot lunchtime meals and all local volunteer groups fully funded so LBR officials are at a loss as to a better way to spend its overflowing pile of our money.

Regular park users will remember that it is barely a nano-year since similar works resulted in a protracted closure of this gate, however that was for a different section of footpath. The works are being phased because it is more than anyone's job is worth to minimise the inconvenience to park users and complete the whole project at one time.

During these works people wishing to enter or leave Valentines Park must either use the gate on Perth Road near to Milton Crescent or the Cranbrook Road gate next to Valentines High School.

We recognise that people who walk through the park as the shortest route from a to b will find that these these alternatives will make their journeys longer, especially when diverting via Bramley Crescent, but hey - such is life! Of course this will be especially hard for those who walk through the park between the closed gate and the Cranbrook Road gate and who are now effectively denied the chance to use the park at all (such as your esteemed author).

As it represents an easy way to absolve us from all consideration of the consequences to others we are citing the 'catch-all' excuse of Health and Safety as being why this gate cannot be used by the public.

We thought about apologising for any inconvenience caused to park users by this gate closure, but decided against such an untruthful activity. In saying this we are following the usual 'mind over matter' mantra which applies to all works that result in unwanted and inconvenient enforced changes to the lives of 'other people'. We do not mind, and you oiks do not matter.

Go away, don't complain and try to have a nice day. Failing that we recommend that you make urgent contact with a taxidermist, explaining how much you are in awe of their work and how with their help you wish to achieve the holy grail of immortality.


  1. I guess this has something to do with the Queen's visit to Valentine Mansion when she starts her diamond jubilee tour of Britain. Got to tart the place up for Her Majesty. Residents don't count. We're merely the oinks who live here.

  2. Sounds like a typically thoughtless, inconsiderate project on the part of what used to be known as Redbridge Leisure Services. It now calls itself "Vision" - but is in reality more like a Nightmare.

  3. and the 'oiks who pay for it!

  4. I hope I'm wrong, but I wonder whether this "essential footpath widening" is perhaps "essential" only to make it wide enough for the introduction of pay-and-display car parking?

    1. Hello Morris, erm, how shall I say this?

      "I am pleased to tell you that you are wrong" sounds awful, even though its truthful and meets with your own stated desire.

      This park gate and pathway are strictly for pedestrians only and even after the widening are nowhere near wide enough for car parking.

      By way of contrast the entrance near to Milton Crescent already has a car park where people must 'pay & display' (aka: 'stand & deliver').


    2. Thanks Simon. I am glad to hear it, but "essential footpath widening" raises such possibilities given the record over the last 3 years of Rip-off Redbridge, particularly in the massive extension of parking charges as a source of income (illegal, by the way, in certain circumstances). And of course they came unstuck with some of those increases introduced in last year's budget

  5. Brilliant – perhaps someone can also explain this phenomenon:

    On Wednesday (15th Feb) at about 3.15pm I was travelling along Ilford High Road, and at one junction (I think it was Highbury Gardens) I saw a6t last eight men - I counted them all – in their yellow jackets from Redbridge’s Highways Department. They were...well, they were doing nothing (and still not doing it at length when I returned the other way ten minutes later).

    Actually, they Were laughing and joking amongst themselves, but there was no visible signs of effort or work – perhaps they were drawing straws over who should operate the rather forlorn-looking Measuring Wheel (yes, one wheel amongst eight men). Although one of them Was on his mobile phone – possibly asking Redbridge’s God of Highways “what are we gonna do now?”.

    I thought: here are some prime candidates for “budget restructuring”. Eight of them.

    Another Redbridge mystery.

  6. The pathway is being widened for a cyling route and was agreed last year long after the restoration. Instead of the armchair discussions why not ask Simon Litt (the Manager of Valentines) for reasons of why.

  7. Thanks for the information. What a pity that our council cannot keep people informed without the need to feret out the infoormation.

    As to "armchair discussions" there are many and varied reasons why some of us are no longer able to get out and involved. Just count your blessings if you still can.

  8. I thought the widening was to allow FAT cat councillors access to the park via this gate without them walking into bushes... oh sorry, I've just been reminded that most of them don't know where the parks are.
    I'd love to know how many people the little yellow counting thingys have counted to date that use the park, even though some of the gates don't have them. I'll walk through one of the latter and not be one of the counted few.

    1. So perhaps the first of my posts on 16 February is not so far off target in that most of those fat cats go nowhere without their guzzling cars.