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News and Comment May 2012

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3 May (Part 2) - Review of the papers

Planning applicationSomeone told me yesterday that I should give a bit more time to reporting what has been in the local press. “Why?” I asked. “Because I never see a copy” came the reply. “Neither do I” chipped in another voice. Well, let me make two people happy then.

Jim Palmer, the Shopper’s reporter, seems to be a stickler for accuracy. His report on Olly Cromwell’s trial was one of the few to have been wholly accurate; it no doubt helps to be at the event rather than be forced to regurgitate hearsay as most of the media did. Now he proves his mettle again on Page 7 by headlining Will Tuckley being sixth highest paid council official in the country. For doing not a lot according to the Lesnes ward councillors. Well practically everything is contracted out so that much is obvious.

A [Bexley council] spokesman said “The salaries … reflect the significant scale and responsibility of the roles and the competitive market for candidates of the calibre required to lead a successful council”. Successful? Not at managing the news agenda, that is for sure. Nearly everything you read on this site is a Bexley council own goal. They didn’t have to clamp down on democracy when Eric Pickles asked them to become more transparent. They didn’t have to lie to the police about who was responsible for the innocuous but notorious flaming torches blog, they didn’t have to organise a cover-up and deny that the police investigated their own blogging activities and they didn’t have to search their rule book to find one that they could dishonestly use against 2,219 residents who asked them to debate Bexley’s extraordinarily high salaries.

Another of Jim Palmer’s reports appears on Page 11. Some flesh has been put on the story featured here a month ago. Because pay-by-phone parking is so unpopular - only about 3·5% of Bexley’s cars have registered for it - and traders have seen their takings plummet up to 40%, a trial allowing payment in local shops has been launched. Not really shops as it happens, just one restaurant, because no one else could be bothered and even the restaurant owner has said “I don’t think it is going to work”. It won’t work when he is shut that is for sure.

Apparently you will be given ten minutes of grace time in which to buy a ticket. Here’s a prediction… Before too long someone will be fined because he had to queue for a ticket and the road was busy and it took a while to get across and by the time he got back he was 30 seconds late. Jim Palmer will write a story about it and any confidence there might have been in the system will instantly evaporate.

Extract from Company Check webpageYou have to go to Page 83 of the Shopper to find more interesting council news and this time it is Susan M. Clark (Head of Development Control) who claims the byline. The Legal & Public Notices confirm the Planning Application for Bexley Cabs. The applicant is said to be Ms. Dymphna Byrne, who the electoral roll reveals lives with Mr. Mark Campbell, who just happens to be, according to the General Register Office, the son of deputy council leader Colin Campbell, and according to various on-line documentation is the owner of Bexley Cabs, not Ms. Byrne who lives at the same Tenterden address as Mr. Campbell.

Is it a deliberate attempt at deception? Lots of people think so.

Click the image for the complete company information.

Another item on Page 83 is Brampton Road. Not much more than a month after it opened following a three month closure it is due to close again (in a southerly direction), possibly from today, for another four weeks. It’s another Bexley council success story master minded by men of the highest calibre. Nobody does it better.


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