Whatever the opposite of the Midas Touch is, the borough council seems to suffer from it. Weeks ago we reported that work had just started on resurfacing the top floor of Main Square car park. More recently, we pointed out that not much was happening. Even more recently – just a couple of days ago – we found that nothing seemed to be happening at all.
Drums of material and equipment worth many thousands of pounds were on the roof ready for action – but they were simply rusting in the weather. And the parking places on the roof were coned off.
As we often ask in such situations, why doesn’t the council tell us what’s happening? There’s no mention of any delay to the work in the ‘News’ section of the council’s website. We can think of of two reasons: i) the council doesn’t think it important to tell residents why there are fewer parking spaces than usual as the run-up to Christmas starts. Or, ii) it’s too embarrassed to tell us that it’s mis-managed the contract. (Of course, we don’t expect sensitive commercial details to be revealed, but we all know that something is wrong so there’s no need to keep the whole thing secret.)
Now, we try to be fair, so maybe the council has run into problems that aren’t of its own making. But then we turn to information that we received from the council early in June, after we had pointed out the distressingly-poor state of the car park’s main stairs. We were told: “All stairwells were refurbished in 2012/13 and will be refreshed including minor repairs and yellow line repainting in July/August when the car park is quieter and works will cause less disruption.” However, July and August have come and gone. So has September. October’s pretty much run its course too. Yet the stairs remain unrepaired.
It’s the final school half-term before Christmas, and the car parks will be getting busier. Has the council simply been doubly-unlucky with its contractors? Perhaps it has. But we’re minded of Oscar Wilde’s ‘To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.’ In the absence of information to the contrary, we’ll opt for ‘carelessness’ in this case too.