Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

Sir Humphrey’s contempt for elected representatives


Still waiting for Council to take action

Where I live there is a narrow dirt path which connects the road I live on to the main road where there is a row of shops. My neighbours and I use the path often. A few years back, the local convenience store opened another branch at one end of this dirt path on the main road: as part of the works they paved over one half of the path with some nice concrete slabs. But no one – that is the Ipswich Borough Council’s planning department – thought it wise to either force the local convenience store, through what’s called a Section 106 agreement, to pave over the remainder of the path or do it themselves with all that lovely taxpayers money they have taken off local residents.

So 6 years on, my neighbours and bus users, who cut through from their stop on the main road, still have to trudge through the mud and dirt on one half of the path. In addition, because it is not paved over, the Council is not looking after our half of the path so it has become an eyesore with fly tipping including beer cans and empty vodka bottles. However, the Council has still found time to put up five bollards on a pavement on my road, supposedly to stop cars parking on the pavement (although I only ever saw one car), but it is totally unnecessary as there are already double yellow lines…pure incompetence and waste!

It is already illegal to park here!

Now when I was a councillor I actually chaired a committee at the Borough Council which APPROVED, over two years ago, a scheme to pave the second half of the dirt path. But due to the elongated decision-making process, the decision made at my committee had to go up to the Executive committee (also known as the Cabinet) for Executive councillors to approve. Due to some bureaucratic hold-ups it didn’t get to Executive until February this year but they approved it without even a whimper – but that wasn’t the end of the story. The Council’s legal advisor – the same legal advisor who does not know the rules of Council meetings – said the decision ALSO had to be taken at a full meeting of all 48 Ipswich Borough Councillors. When it got to the full council meeting in March this year we all approved it unanimously. And now eight months later not one concrete slab has been laid.

Therefore, I decided to contact one of my ward councillors, Cllr Liz Harsant, to find out what was or isn’t happening. The Council officer in charge of the scheme gave Liz an update:

I have instructed Legal to make a footpath creation order for the alleyway between Gladstone and Foxhall Road.  

The order will be advertised shortly and if there are no objections we will be able to implement the scheme without the need to gain Secretary of State approval, which was the original thought and has delayed things somewhat.
Funding for the scheme has been approved by the Community Improvements Team and is still ring-fenced to this project.

Secretary State of approval!  So, not content with one committee, the Executive and all 48 elected representatives of the people of Ipswich approving the paving of a 20 metre path, Sir Humphrey wanted to ask the Transport Secretary.
You couldn’t make it up.

Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

3 thoughts on “Sir Humphrey’s contempt for elected representatives

  1. Someone must have asked for those bollards to be placed there, a resident or a Ward Cllr- have you asked?

  2. Liz says all you residents are grateful for the bollards? Are you?

  3. I personally don't see the need for the bollards. I only ever saw one car parking on the pavement, everyone else just obeys the double yellow lines. I'd rather the money was spent on paving the path which councillors approved nearly 3 years ago!

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