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Dominic Grieve

Bonkers Blog September 2017

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Craske saved

18 September - The Council sponsored website you’ve never heard of

I always suspected that agreeing to help the Abbey Wood Traders’ Association (AWTA) would lead to mission creep and it shows every sign of doing so.

Fortunately others are organising a public meeting on Anti-Social Behaviour and I need do nothing but it’s a little worrying that some people are saying there is no ASB in Wilton Road. Of course it must depend on how it is defined.

Those of us who pass through Wilton Road daily are entirely used to seeing groups of noisy drinkers hanging around at the end of one of the alleys but if they never actually harm passers by is that actually ASB? If only they wouldn’t throw their empties into an adjacent garden.

Overall it is very disappointing that after investing £300,000 in upgrading shop fronts and more on the pubic realm both Councils appear to be losing interest. Exposed drain pipes are falling apart, a tree has had to be removed and no one ever came back to fit the promised pavement studs that should mark where shop forecourts meet the public highway.

Bexley Council seemed to be so keen on the project when it began, they issued a Press Release, here’s part of it.
Press Release
Note the bit about setting up an on-line directory. I bet you haven’t ever seen it. Probably that’s because it was given no publicity. Why wasn’t there a link in the Press Release? www.yourabbeywood.co.uk which provided the formal Council stuff was mentioned but not www.abbeywoodvillage.co.uk which might have been more useful to anyone planning a shopping expedition.

It was mentioned on BiB but Googling anything about Abbey Wood draws a blank on ‘the village website’.

At the time I thought it was quite well done but it still talks about about the January sales, Valentine’s Day and special offers that expired months ago.

Traders’ names are spelled wrongly and in one case pictures of the shop owners are transposed to the wrong shop! Phone numbers are not consistently displayed and some directory pages put the text alongside the images while others with near identical content put it underneath. Obviously my first look at the site was far too superficial, look hard and it soon reveals itself as a mess.

It would be unfair to apportion blame but for whatever reason requests to update pages have failed.

Despite taxpayers’ money going to some web developer somewhere, under the bonnet it’s also a bit of a disaster. The image sizes are all over the place and at some screen magnifications the navigation bar disappears and then shows up in a different place; it had me fooled for a while.

It is quite possible that formal websites have had their day and are replaced to some extent by Twitter and Facebook but nevertheless the AWTA would like to have a website that can be advertised in every one of their shop windows. For that the site needs to be easily kept up to date, so basically as simple as possible. The Councils are sponsoring the current site only until the middle of next year when it will die if nothing is done.

Guess who has been given the job of saving it from oblivion?

As mentioned yesterday I have some new tricks to learn because in some ways Bonkers is technically at least a bit dated (and probably too big to modify).

Things are going quite well but there is lots still to be done and websites can always be improved. So that is why there will probably be no blogs for the next 48 hours.

With any luck BiB should be back after tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting.

 

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