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Bonkers Blog January 2017

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17 January - Shining a dim light into murky corners

I think I am in favour of Bexley’s switch over to LED street lighting. My initial reaction was that it is dim and it’s a fact that my back garden is no longer lit up by the spill from sodium lamps but the LEDs probably provide a more pleasant light, certainly my camera prefers it. If it is cheaper to run, yes, I am marginally in favour.

However it would appear that not everyone is a bit of a fence sitter like me, many people do not like it at all. A story from the inside which may or may not be true is that the main reason for the new and inconvenient rule that prohibits written or telephone complaints about street lighting policy was hastily pushed in because the number of complaints was getting out of hand. The truth would be hard to come by but some things can be uncovered reasonably easily.

ConwayUnder the old system street lighting was a Highways responsibility - as you might guess would be logical - with Keir plc being the maintenance contractor.

The new lights were installed by FM Conway, the company largely responsible for traffic chaos across this borough and many others, which isn’t too strange but it would appear that they have taken over the maintenance contract too.

According to the disgruntled of Watling Street this was a take over by Bexley’s Deputy Director of Services and Programmes, Graham Ward under the nose of his Highways colleagues.

Well done FM Conway you might say for stealing a march on Keir but a bit of digging, not to mention prompting by the aforesaid disgruntled, suggests that this might be a not entirely wholesome takeover.

Linked InThe Lighting Director at FM Conway is a Mr. Graham Cartledge who had lighting experience at the eponymous Cartledge Street Lighting company, but that outfit became part of the Kier Group.

Within Watling Street the switch of maintenance contractor from Kier to Conway is said “to stink worse than Crossness on a bad day” and you have to agree that the coincidences do provoke suspicions that something untoward may have been going on.

My informant speaks of brown envelopes but that is easy to say; how would anyone get hard evidence of that?


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