Monday, 4 August 2014

So we know who'll build the roads...and that the Council won't like it!


Some 25 or so years ago we were driving around Turkey in a hire car. As we poddled along the main road east from Antalya, we found that a landslip had resulted in a large part of the road relocating itself onto a neighbouring beach. There was no road but, in that spirit of initiative, good sense and enterprise several bulldozers and diggers had ploughed a new 'road' around the missing chunk of highway.

It was a botch, a fix done so as to avoid a fifty odd mile detour for all the traffic along that normally travels that road (not to mention keeping access to the little hamlets and farms along the way). Almost certainly the arrangement did not meet the sort of standards that Bath & North East Somerset Council apply to roads:

"We appreciate the difficulties that local residents have experienced since the emergency closure and work has started to deliver a permanent solution as quickly as possible, but will not encourage proposals that have not been proven to be safe or compliant with statutory requirements.

"The council has no details to confirm the toll road design meets safety standards and no evidence that insurances are in place for any member of the public who uses the private toll road." 

For me this sums up the problem - people are discouraged in every way from any initiative resolving a problem or providing a service that doesn't have the official stamp placed on it. Even when it is vastly superior to that quick fix on a main road in Turkey. Indeed the description of the road puts plenty of council run roads to shame and I bet it doesn't have any potholes!

At the minute the road doesn't have planning permission but given its temporary nature it's hard to see how the Council can enforce this lack. The work rebuilding the damaged A-road will take five months. In the meantime the Council has to issue an enforcement notice that has a right of appeal (about one month), then process a planning application (six weeks to two months) which, assuming refusal, the applicant can appeal (up to three months).

So all the Council can do is get its po-faced officials to issue grumpy statements of disapproval!



Dan said...

A while ago, in the south of Britain, a railway station decided with the lack of intelligence common to such organisations that it would be a really good way to make money if they raised the costs of parking at the station. Then the council got in on the act, with a residents' parking scheme to try to correct the first mistake.

Then a local farmer got involved. He proposed turning some of his land into allotments so that garden-deprived people might have plots of land to grow food on. Since this allotment area was out of town, a small carpark would also be needed.

Overwhelmed by Greenie buzzwords and political correctness, the council agreed.

That farmer now does amazingly good business, renting out allotment plots. Each plot costs £100 per annum, and comes with its own car parking space. It's dead handy, just down the road from such amenities as the local railway station, whose car park is almost deserted most days now...

Anonymous said...


I was intrigued by your story, but a quick googling doesn't seem to bring it up. Whereabouts was it?