Council Logic

2011-01-03 008Thankfully, our house is not in a controlled parking zone (CPZ). I’d be green, blue and purple of anger: when the council decides to make your street a controlled parking zone, it means that you need to go and pay a fee (in the order of £60 per annum, I believe) for the right to park your own car outside your own house. Road taxes paid for the car, substantial taxes paid for the fuel consumed by said car, and council takes paid for the house notwithstanding.

In their latest Around Ealing pamphlet, the council even boasts about the new and super-convenient facility which allows the purchase of visitor parking vouchers online and from your mobile phone.

I think the official justification is to prevent “wild parking” and to ensure that streets around popular hotspots, such as a shopping area or a tube station, aren’t cluttered with parking cars, leaving no car parking space for residents. In my simple little mind, it means that I need to produce proof of residence, and for each car owned, proof or ownership and road tax payment. In return, the council would supply a resident’s parking permit.

Everything else is nothing but unashamed money making without service in return.

The audacity of boasting and declaring the new payment methods an improvement! Have they no self-respect, no shame, no common sense? Oh. I see. No, no and no.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Please. Pretty Please

home Ealing Council, it its endless wisdom and in neglect to their duties, decided to pay back part of the local tax. The argument is that they have “too much money,” the neglect is that they fail to spend it on any of the necessary things. Apparently, they consider it a job done, and think of the elections ahead.

Any half-wit can create a sheer endless list of things in need of the council’s attention and money. Schools, places for the young and places for the elderly. Road surfaces and pavement, playgrounds, public libraries, parks. Support for the arts. Public toilets. Fly tipping and littering, drug use and crime. Public transport, alternative transport, alternative energy. Support for the elderly, the sick, the poor. Wherever you look or point, there’s is need for work being done and moneys being committed.

People of Ealing. Please take the £50 cash back payment, which is due to arrive in your bank account in December, and turn it into some local goodness.

I round mine up to the next £100 and make a donation to Groundwork West London, supporting them to continue doing what the council should do in the first place. Whether you round up the £50 cash back is your decision, and so is the choice of the charity or cause you chose to support, but please use the money for the purpose it was intended for in the first place: for the best of the borough.

Please, pretty please?


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

St. Florian

Bibliotheca Jardim (Lisbon) Following a campaign started by a local resident, the town elders have decided that the western part of Ealing needs a skate park, and have made plans to build it not far from us. Apparently, £200,000 are now set aside and consultation is open for a new skate park in Elthorne Park (

You won’t be surprised to hear that those who are against everything (the “Hanwell Community Forum” in this case) also oppose this plan, with a series of the usual arguments. It’s too loud. It’s too remote. It’s too close.

Basically means to say “Yeah, skate park, right, well, if it cannot be avoided… but not in my front garden.”

On the upside, their leaflet doesn’t issue a blanket accusation of expected antisocial or criminal behaviour. Better than similar previous campaigns (by different groups).

I am not sure if a steel and concrete structure is the best possible way to provide young people with a means to bond, relax, grow-up, find purpose in life, but it sure is better than hanging out at the bus stop and smashing a phone booth for fun.

I suggest opponents of this plan should immediately remind themselves they were once young and might have children themselves, or grand-children soon. It’s hard enough growing up in the big city, nobody needs to be repeatedly told that he or she is unwanted on top of it.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Cash Refund

councillor In the 2008/09 financial year, Ealing Council has spent less than what they have rightfully earned (through direct and indirect taxes), so they came up with the clever plan:

All eligible households will automatically receive a £50 cash refund in December.

This was announced in the council’s monthly pamphlet for August 2009 [pdf – see page 5]

A popular move for sure, especially in light of future elections. When the time comes, I am sure we’ll hear all about it over and over again.

I call it proof of failure. Failure by neglect:

First, there is a minor failure in that they fail to explain which households are eligible for a payback, which ones aren’t, and why. A good example of transparent government and accounting.

Second, they decide to spend the cost of the administrative overhead for the populist payback scheme, rather than opting for holding back the surplus riches, and asking for smaller council tax contributions next year. Surely this would have been a more cost-efficient way to deal with a surplus?

Third, and most worrying: They must think they have done a perfect job all around the borough, and nothing else needs doing, so that they simply don’t know what to do with the money. There’s a gazillion small and big jobs around the borough, and all they can come up with is a refund? That’s like throwing hands in the air. Jesus. Lord. Almighty.

Although I didn’t vote for the current council (as you probably guessed), they are charged by everyone to spend the tax money wisely and for the better common good of everyone in the borough.

Apparently, they can’t be bothered to do what they were elected to do. I hope most people will see through this expensive populist move and can’t be bothered voting for them again.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


A lovely front door, seen in the Vale in the Heath, London Knock, knock.

Who’s there?


Delores who?

Delores my shepherd…

It wasn’t Delores, nor was it an African Christian missionary. Instead, it was the guy from down the road. And he didn’t tell any knock-knock jokes either:

Do you know about the planning application for the Red Lion, he asks. No, I say. (The Red Lion is a derelict pub at the end of my street). He explains that this is the last day to object a planning application to convert the derelict pub into (his words) “an African church.”

Oh, that’s good news, I say, why would I want to object replacing a derelict pub with a church?

Because, he tells me, we have parking problems here already. There’ll be hundreds of cars every Sunday.

You’d have been proud of me, how I stayed calm and cool, and in the friendliest possible way explained that I’d much rather have car parking problems on a Sunday morning, compared to nightly drug and knife-crime issues (as we used to have with the Red Lion).

I should have also informed him that, even though car parking space can be tight late in the evening, in comparison with most of suburbia, we do not have car parking problems at all.

I welcome “the African church” to my area (and plan on a lie-in Sunday mornings anyway). Some people just have to object anything. Ealing Council doesn’t have a great track record at showing common sense, but I sure hope they dismiss this objection.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Dear Lord Give Wisdom

Tram in Lisbon Dear Lord, give wisdom to the men and women of Ealing Council, for they know not what they are doing.

When they don’t spend their time –and our money- on expensive chest-beating self-advertising campaigns around the borough like big ages, they spend their energy on reverting what was done right by the previous council, as it seems.

The latest ingenious idea is to reduce some of the bus lanes around the borough in order to relief traffic congestion. By that, they do of course mean congestion by cars. (Not a new idea though.)

When bus lanes were extended a few years ago, a route was created to support free and swift flow of busses, and to support a comparatively safe heaven for cyclists. Removing some bus lanes now, or reducing the hours of operation of 24/7 bus lanes to standard peak hours, is a very regrettable step back to the dark ages of individual transport.

If the good lord hears my prayers, surely he’d advise the councillors to spend all the above money, and more, on efforts to reduce individual traffic throughout the borough rather than allowing for even more. Attractive offerings of public transport, and optimum support for alternative means of transport, are the obvious first choices.

Falling back to the petrolhead wisdom of the 1950s might suit a conservative council, but it certainly doesn’t suit a congested 21st town in the 21st century.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Hanwell Public Toilet Scheme

rendevouzPoint Starting today, the press notice released on an unspecified day in March 2009 reports, Hanwell businesses will be taking part in a trial scheme to provide more public toilets in the town.

It means that four local cafes and bars will allow free and public access to their toilets. In return, each gets £600 per year to help cover cleaning and upkeep.

The truth is that these businesses aren’t so much taking part in a trial scheme to provide more public toilets in town, they are part of a scheme to help the council weasel out of their duties. £2,400 per year, a few hours of bigwig palaver and a new sticker in the window is going to be much less than buying and maintaining “real” public toilets. As such, the plan is admirable, but I can’t help thinking of my hair dresser.

In short, his argument is that he cannot allow public access to his toilets (only to a select few), because his facilities would otherwise be used to route drugs, weapons, and some-such.

If he’s right, those four businesses have just taken on a pretty big responsibility. I can only hope he’s wrong, ‘coz I can’t believe those four local businesses are up for the whole package.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Makeover in Green

droplet The Mayor of London is a poor man, who –basically- can’t maintain all parks and public spaces as well as they should. So, with limited budget, they run a public opinion poll of sorts, where Londoners could vote for their park.

The top ten parks will get funding for a makeover, and the results are now out.

Nice to see one of our local parks, Brent River Park (aka Bunny Park) is among the winners. The small animal centre and “litter management” are among the six objectives, and rightly so.

Also nice to see that Crane Valley Park also made it to the last ten; I had always thought of Crane Valley Park as Rapists’ Park. No wonder the Crane Valley park objectives include an increase to staff presence to help people feel safe.

Well done, but once Boris and others start beating their chest about this, remember that it means that the many other public parks and spaces simply won’t get the attention they need.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Chest-beating Affairs

DSCF6269 Our local council here in Ealing has its flaws and weaknesses, as they all do. However, self-praise, shoulder-slapping and chest-beating are not among those weaknesses. You’ve got to give them that.

The council’s latest one is the 8.5 Million Pounds bravado. 8.5 millions, so they boast on countless posters and banners throughout the borough, is their magnificent investment in road maintenance. The fact that they don’t say “extra” alone makes me suspicious, but I regret being unable to find much in terms of hard numbers.

Ealing has a population of approximately 300,000, with 36km of principal roads and, without doubt, much more minor roads and residential streets. I couldn’t find the total length of public roads and streets under the responsibility of the Borough of Ealing, or the total of the public paved area. With 36km of principal roads, I don’t 360km for the total will be an overestimate.

So, allow me to work on the basis of 360km. £8,500,000 / 360,000m = 23.61 pounds per metre for street maintenance. Filling a single pothole is £72 on average, so the BBC told us just a few nights ago.

I have the feeling that £8.5 is nothing to boast about, but simply what a town of that size ought to invest for upkeep and street maintenance. I’d be really grateful if anyone out there could put me right, provide some real numbers, pointers for reference, etc.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Local Graffiti Required

lisbonGrafitti01 Ealing council has adorned the council building with huge shoulder slaps in the form of two large banners, where the council brags how much money they have spend to change the rubbish and recycling collection service. They also boast about a large six-digit figure (was it £400k or £800k – can’t quite remember) that was spent on graffiti removal, all together resulting in cleaner streets.

Cleaner streets are much needed without doubt; the place is a dumb at times.

What is also much needed is prevention by education, by supplying respect, purpose in life, source of income. The council once again seems to focus on cleaning after the vandals, and I am sure even larger figures were spent on increased policing and more CCTV cameras. I have not seen the figure but am certain the budget for social workers and others to work on prevention schemes of all kinds is negligible, if it is at all.

I really wished some brave graffiti artist would step up and adorn that banner with some pretty rude words or imagery. A hairy piece of the male genital comes to mind. Just the right thing for the dickheads inside.

Chances are that the CCTV camera across the street isn’t working anyway.

Technorati Tags: , ,