was on my way out this morning and started looking at the amount of frost damage
to Abbey Road, Belvedere. I spotted a drain cover almost lifted out of the road
surface which I shall report on Tuesday but then I spotted a broken cast iron
access cover. Fortunately it wasnt very big but
it was in the middle of the road not far from a bend. A wide car
wheel wouldnt go down it but a motorcycles might be affected. 50 years ago I came off a
motorbike that hit a near identical hole and was lucky to escape with my life as
I was catapulted into a wall. No helmets in those days; so at some inconvenience
I returned home to report the danger to the council.
a bit of telephone button pushing I spoke to someone on emergency duty who
asked if it was a utility companys cover. Probably, but how would I know, it
was missing and I didnt stand in the middle of the road looking at it for
long. In that case it isnt our responsibility, I can give you some utility
company phone calls if you like. I took down the numbers but I didnt have time
to go back to assess who the hole might belong to and then phone them. So I left
it. Im going to feel pretty bad when I go to photograph it tomorrow if there
has been an accident. I suspect all will be well, the hole was no bigger (but
much deeper) than the potholes that the council regularly ignores.
In my view the episode indicates that council procedures are inadequate, but it doesnt
care about potholes so I suppose one should not expect it to care about missing access covers.
I know they care about stolen drain water gullies and assumed it was because they were death
traps; why the different attitude to similar dangers? A procedure that relies on anonymous telephone
callers ringing the utility companies is an accident waiting to happen, the council should do it themselves
to ensure it is done. It was only luck that it isnt a big hole, they didnt bother to ask.