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News and Comment July 2012

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18 July - Vindictive Peter Craske. His legacy lives on

Gertrude RoadI first realised what an evil little man councillor Peter Craske could be when the News Shopper reported how he took a vindictive delight in financially penalising a resident who made a mistake with his pavement crossover application. The poor man finished up paying for the job three times over when even if the original mistake was entirely his he shouldn’t have had to pay more than twice. But power crazy Craske could abuse his position, so he did.

Pavement crossovers shouldn’t cost the taxpayer anything, that’s a reasonable enough position for a council to take and Bexley council’s scale of fees starts at £960 so long as the area of pavement is less than six square metres.

Pavement crossover Pavement crossoverNot far from my home Bexley council has ripped up all the paving stones and is laying asphalt paths, cracking a few garden walls in the process. It’s the sort of routine maintenance job that councils undertake from time to time and in this case they notified residents of the likely disruption and offered them the opportunity of having a crossover installed at a 25% discount. On the one hand it sounds like a decent offer and on the other, part of a crafty scheme to get residents to pay for routine maintenance. In practice it was a mixture of greed, stupidity and Craske-style unreasonableness.

The second of the three photographs shows a typical paved front garden. For reasons lost in the mist of time the dropped kerb is offset a little too far to the right. The kerb begins to rise opposite the boundary wall and there is no adjacent crossover for the next property. The owner, attracted by the 25% discount, asked the council if the crossover could be extended several feet to the left which would allow both cars to drive straight in and park parallel with each other but there may have been a problem with a nearby lamp post so the request was turned down. So far so reasonable.

However the resident asked if the kerb could instead be made to rise just one stone further to the left. The cost of materials and manual labour would be nothing. The council jobsworth agreed it would be a satisfactory arrangement and proceeded to quote £900 for the work, a price which would appear to be 25% off the standard price for an eight square metre job. It looks like nothing short of highway robbery. No one was asking for more than a couple of feet of pathway to be lowered more than previously at zero cost to Bexley council. Alternatively the entire crossing could be minimally relocated to the left of its old position. The council jobsworth was uncompromising, he didn’t set the prices he said; lowering one kerb stone would cost £900, take it or leave it. That’s sounds like Craske’s rules being applied by someone with very little brain. The crossover remains as it always was. Bexley council has lost a little revenue, one more resident is inconvenienced and thousands more people get to know what a small minded bunch of cretins run Bexley.

It’s a pity I didn’t get to hear about this issue earlier, there may have been an opportunity to see if replacement cabinet member Gareth Bacon is as stupid and spiteful as ex-cabinet member Peter Craske. I would hope not and it would be quite an achievement on Gareth’s part, but now we will have to wait and make a judgment another time.

Council statement on pavement crossovers.


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