I THINK I’ve hit on a way to do something about the knackered new road surface at Bruce Street Bridges.
As you’ll know if you’re one of the unfortunates obliged to drive in that neck of the woods, it’s not long since the place was resurfaced and remodelled at great expense and inconvenience.
In spite of that, great big sections of it are falling to bits and will have to be re-done. Naturally this means even more expense and inconvenience.
Anyway, my strategy is to write to a bloke called Soichiro Takashima, who’s the mayor of a Japanese city called Fukuoka. I’ve chosen him for reasons which will become apparent. I’ve already put a draft together. See what you think: Dear Mr Takashima, Greetings from Swindon!
Congratulations on making international headlines recently, after that massive sinkhole, dozens of feet deep, swallowed an entire road junction in the middle of your fine city.
We were all very impressed to learn that within a week it was fully filled in, with every broken pipe and cable repaired and made stronger than ever.
The pictures were in just about every one of our national newspapers, on lots of television channels and all over the internet.
I’m writing because we have a problem with some of our road surfaces. I don’t know much about road surfacing, but unfortunately it seems the same can be said of certain well-paid senior people here whose job description includes road surfacing.
Perhaps you could ask your excellent engineering team to get in touch with some of those senior people and offer a few tips. Nothing too complicated, just a few pointers on issues they seem to be a bit unclear about.
Choosing road surfaces is an especially good example.
Decent roads have been built in this country since the Romans took a shine to the place, and many of our current roads have been functioning admirably for decades without ever needing to be resurfaced.
Could you please have your engineers suggest to our senior road-building folk that a good strategy for laying a decent road surface is to use the same stuff that works well elsewhere?
I’d happily make the suggestion myself, but it’ll carry more weight if it comes from your end.
Also, it seems that one of the reasons for our current bout of crumbling may or may not be some underground pipes or similar, whose presence was not known of before.
Could your engineers see their way clear to advising our people on the value of good record-keeping and liaising between utility companies?
Also, could you put them in touch with some suppliers of equipment for detecting hidden pipes and cables – or some good online courses in how to use such equipment?
I know you’re a busy man, Mayor Takashima, but if you could help us out we’d be ever so grateful.
We need to have this problem sorted out as soon as possible, as the economic havoc caused by commuters’ lost working hours can barely be guessed at.
Yours hopefully, Barrie Hudson.
Mum’s right to cause a stir DID you read about Tessa Lake, the Swindon mum who was denied hot water at branches of Costa?
The water was needed to heat her baby’s bottle.
She was told she couldn’t have the water for health and safety reasons.
Was this really the reason she was denied water?
The excuse given was pretty poor.
Hot water is dangerous for health and safety reasons? Are we to assume it becomes magically safe when added to coffee or when a teabag is dunked in it?
I find myself wondering whether anybody behind the counter at Costa would have objected had Tessa bought a big cup of Earl Grey or whatever and warmed the bottle in that.
I rather think they wouldn’t.
Costa has pledged to remind staff of the company’s family-friendliness.
It might also want to give some of them crash courses in how not to embroil one’s employer in potential public relations calamities.
We do it our way THE Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has been criticising Swindon Borough Council.
CILIP has described the consultation process over library closures as meaningless because the financial decision was made before the consultation began.
I think CILIP should be ashamed of itself for showing such arrogant cultural imperialism.
Don’t you hate it when outsiders descend on us with their big city ways, trying to shout the odds?
Just because councils in other parts of the country have public consultations before decisions are made, and quite often take note of public opinion and act accordingly, it doesn’t mean we have to.
Round here the decisions are made before the consultations, and public opinion is either completely ignored or almost completely ignored.
That’s the way it’s always been, no matter which party is in charge of the council.
That’s also the way we like it, because otherwise we’d rise up at the ballot box and chuck everybody out of office whenever something like the library situation developed.