Monday, February 06, 2006

Speed Humps, 20mph zones and more problems in Sunderland

As the row over Sunderland City Council's shambolic Decriminalised Parking Enforcement regime rolls on, a bigger problem is about to be exposed ... and is it no surprise that the same culprits are involved?

However, Sunderland resident, Captain Green brought all of this to the attention of those involved as far back as 1996. He has been vilified and harangued by councillors and council officials alike.
Now it appears that he will be proved to have been correct all along.
Nothing short of a full apology should be accepted and he should be praised for his observation and diligence. Perhaps it may be wise for the Council to take him on board as a specialist advisor.

The letter from Chief Executive, Ged Fitzgerald states,
" It is evident that some of the same weaknesses identified in the DPE review have contributed to the failure to make the 20mph zone orders. It is also apparent that decisions of previous Chief Officers not to retrospectively seek to regularise those road humps installed prior to 1996 has created a difficult legacy which needs to be resolved."

"I have concluded that the best use of the Council's resources is to concentrate on rectifying the present situation rather than in undertaking a post-mortem on how Captain Green's objections were dealt with in 1996.
Accrdingly it is proposed to:-

1. Consider the schemes afresh on their merits.
2. Undertake consultations with all relevant parties including the police and public.
3. Advertising those road humps installed after consultation with the public but without complying with the requirements of section 90c of the Highways Act 1990.
4. Consider replacing 20mph signs with road hump warnings or proceeding with Orders as appropriate."

As the good ship Sunderland lurches from iceberg to iceberg (only the tips of which the public have seen so far) the Captain's silence is deafening. Lifeboats are hastily being prepared by many but it is clear that some will be left to swim in the icy waters alone.

What crisis will be exposed next?

Were the same individuals involved in the Development and Regeneration Directorate and the City Solicitor's department involved in the Housing Stock transfer? Were similar errors made there?

Do some of the other roads in the City have incorrect speed limits or missing Traffic Orders...such as some of those which have been used as Nortumbria Police 'cash-cows' targeting speeding motorists doing 35mph?

The Leader of the Council, Mr. Symonds has some serious explaining to do and some rather large apologies to make to the ratepayers for a shocking display of ineptitude, incompetence allied with an absolute indifference to the amount of public money wasted by him and his officers.

The position of Leader comes with responsibility as well as a salary. Is it now time for Mr. Symonds to earn his salary, or step down?

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