Wednesday, 15 February 2012
It is the early hours of the morning as I surface and head towards the kitchen. It is not hunger or other personal twitches or needs that have woken me. The wind has changed and sound is coming from the town centre.
Seventy years ago in these parts I might have mistaken it for a Messerschmitt 109 that would soon be gone, one way or another but this noise will be with me now for the rest of the night boding ill for both sleep and temper.
It is contractors in the town centre digging up a road. For months now they have been digging up and refilling one after another as the various services try to outdo each other in being the biggest boys on the block. In some cases no sooner have they left one street than another turns up to do something else.
The reason we have the sound it that it is uphill and less than a mile away and as usual there is a large team using more than one pneumatic drill at a time, given wind and conditions then a large area will be affected.
The Council appears to have decreed that now any road works in the town centre, broadly defined will be done at night. A large yellow board tells me that they will be on the road past where we live in ten days time for a week or so.
So whilst the councillors prattle on about creating a “living town centre” they are making it impossible for anyone to sleep in. What they really mean is turning over most properties to become boozers and clubs to keep the High Street in tatters.
These too have noise problems often so bad that they shake the buildings for a little distance around. Some of these are listed and it is questionable how much stress they can take. The council has never heard of “collapse dynamics”. They may find out soon if the cracks on one 17th Century building widen much.
Traffic issues during the day are cited as one reason. What this means is that the Council is unwilling to pay the cost of appropriate diversion signing and the rest and the local police have long given up any attempt to deal with traffic flows.
Another reason may be that none of the Councillors nor the senior officers live anywhere near the town centre. So to hell with those who do. That some of these people live over their work or are amongst key services matters not.
By the time the Councillors have surfaced to do their work the contractors have gone home and they do not return until after the Councillors have left. They do what they have to do and draw their expenses and leave the town centre area to the diggers and shakers.
Anyone who does complain gets the usual run around and if they do make any contact simply have a blithe soul spinning the usual garbage and PR speak. There does not appear to be anyone actually in charge, it is always someone else or worse still an “Agency”.
Is it like this in other places or worse?