Thursday, 19 February 2009

PAY, POTHOLES AND POINTLESS LITIGATION

I was pretty 'de-chuffed' to hear on the radio this morning that KCC employees are demonstrating/lobbying their Councillors today in Maidstone. The issue seems to be about a 1% pay-rise being too small. I think they are lucky to have their jobs, with generous pensions mounting nicely, in these troubled times and there are even 90 jobs being advertised on KCC's web-site. I thought we were heading into deflation and in that case, is a pay-cut in order? If they are really so worried about a 1% pay-rise, they could apply for a job with generous TDC who seem to be offering 2% this coming year.

Rather than pay its staff more, perhaps KCC could realise that our roads in Thanet are in a shocking state compared to the rest of the County. This pothole in Grafton Road, Broadstairs is large enough to damage vehicles but more importantly cause loss of control of a vehicle by the driver to the endangerment of other road users and pedestrians.
.
Thanet's road surfaces were in a shocking state before the harsher winter this year got to work; water freezing at night expands and breaks up the structure of cracked and poor surfaces with potholes quickly forming. I hope our TDC and KCC Councillors will tour their wards and then direct KCC Highways to patch and repair before we have some serious accidents.







It would seem that KCC just cannot accept that the idiotic idea to build a Turner Centre on the sea-ward side of Margate Harbour Arm was just that and that the apalling waste of tax-payers money (£8 million) between 2001 and 2006 on that crazy scheme is best forgotten about. Whilst no-one involved has had the courtesy to apologise or resign, KCC continues to rub salt into tax-payers wounds by continuing with pointless litigation against Norwegian Architects Snohetta to try and get money back. This pointless litigation has now cost us all the staggering sum of £644,000! I am reminded of a gambler who refuses to accept he has foolishly frittered his money away but continues to bet in the fond hope of winning the 'big one'.
.
When will KCC see sense and stop this further waste of tax-payers money? Snohetta are a prize winning firm with costly prestigious projects all over the world and KCC should have realised that a project with them would be eye-wateringly expensive! Snohetta quickly realised that a cheap wood and concrete structure would not survive and had to go for steel. The picture above( from Snohetta' web-site ) clearly shows that at least the architects realised what sea conditions the project would have to withstand!
.
Here are some extracts from various articles about the 'litigation':
"In a writ filed at the Technology and Construction Court, the council is seeking £5,943,815 plus interest from Snohetta over the failed design.
It claims the firm failed to appreciate the actual cost of changing the design to steel, did not properly design or appreciate the cost of the gallery’s foundations and failed to realise how much achieving a smooth steel surface – as promised – would cost.
The council also alleges Snohetta did not consider how the 2,000 tonne structure would be installed – particularly since there were no mobile cranes that could lift more than 1,200 tonnes in the UK at the time."

"But Snøhetta accused KCC of wasting public money in making the claim, and blamed its “poor procurement methods” and “faulty project management” for the aborted project.
A spokeswoman for Snøhetta said the council’s claim was unfounded. “Public money [has] been badly spent by KCC,” she said. “By going to court, even more public money will be wasted.
“Our contract with KCC ended before the costs soared. When we left the project, all costs had been approved by KCC.”
I have to say that I have more trust in Snohetta's version of this KCC debacle.

11 comments:

tony flaig bignews said...

I spent some time looking at this and its clear to me that in accepting the only design based at sea rather than actual plot everyone else went for shows just how inept our KCC friends are.

I challenged one the councils dibdobs who told me that the design was in the scope of the tendering process since you could just make out the sea location in the extreame corner of the rendezvous site map.

KCC Later went on to Create Kent TV, Gateway, and its latest waste Kent healthwatch.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong about Thanet having the worst pot holes in the county! We have big ones also in West Kent. And then there are the street lights that dont works for months on end - Kent Highways blame the electricity company for many of the failures. My latest gripe is why KCC are cutting grass verges in the winter. I say cutting the verges but there is no grass to cut, they just plough up mud. Maybe its to make up for the lack of cutting in the summer when the grass does grow. I hope it has nothing to do with the fact that in West Kent the contractor in none other than one of KCC's own commercial services.

Anonymous said...

I remember at the time, the KCC Turner spokesman (Mike Hill I think) saying that the 6 million was not lost!. It was part on the ongoing Turner development costs and the council's Auditors were very satified that it had been handled correctly. So much for KCC's accounting practices.

Anonymous said...

That picture is only one of a number round Thanet that were in existence long before the recent bad weather. We have one just outside our house that we reported to Kent Highways and, to be fair, it was patched up. Instead of doing a proper repair, though, a couple of workers topped up the hole with a bit of tarmac. Within months it had re-appeared and is just as bad. Why not do the job thoroughly as that is a cheaper option in the long run? Kent Highways seem to re-do roads that aren't too bad but ignore the really bad ones. The daft thing about our pothole is the pavement a few inches away was repaired a few months ago but the workmen couldn't do our pothole as it wasn't on the work-sheet!!

Bertie Biggles said...

15.36, thanks for that news that KCC is not just neglecting Thanet's roads and our own 'Fannit' pot-holes. We have double lamp-posts down here with old one left standing right beside the new or cut off stump sticking up out of pavement in hazardous way. KCC Highways need gripping not gritting.

Anonymous said...

Apologies for the late response to your posting on 8 Feb, but I have been on a short hol.

You should be more balanced in your reporting of events. Cllr Clark was also found to be offensive and disrepectful by the Standards Board, www.standardsboard.co.uk, and the allegation was not brought as a counter claim by his wife. My understanding is that she has never involved the standards board for the months of bullying and harrasment that she went through, instead she involved her union.

I have to agree with other bloggers comments that had the boot been on the other foot, then the Labour Party Political Machine would have been baying for blood, but someone seems to have unplugged it on this occasion. It would appear that the Cllr in question even went to ground and wouldn't assist in any preliminary investigation.

I also believe that it took over a year and a half for this matter to be resolved, and it was only when the unions threatened action that it was brought to a conclusion, wherein Mrs E recieved an apology for the behaviour of said Cllr.

You have every right to blog your opinons BB, but just make sure that they are balanced. "Mauwice" may say things that he shouldn't at times, but at least he is up front, not sneaking around in the background, having nasty little jibes at people over a matter of months. Incidently, this matter with Mrs E had, apparently, been logged some time before the WG fiasco, so it could hardly be called retaliation.

Methinks " Mauwice" may have been set up at the WG to react, funny that, just before the elections!!

Bertie Biggles said...

Thanks for your reply 09.28. I have left it here,and have also copied it to the original post. I hope you had a relaxing holiday. None of the issues that were dealt with by The Standards Board last year did those involved any credit but we must remember that Cllr Hart was fully exonerated. It is purely conjecture but surely Mrs E talks to her husband and that the matter should have been dealt with long before the WG affair?

Even if the WG was a 'set-up' as you put it, The Leader of TDC should have walked away from it. Undignified behaviour brings the 'Office' into disrepute whatever the party political affiliation of the holder. As a North Thanet Tory, I am not happy to be represented by someone found to be 'wanting' in this way and I am mortified that the Tory Councillors, collectively, have not seen fit to demand his resignation as Leader.

Anonymous said...

The way I understand it,, Mrs E did not relate the problem to her husband until after the WG affair, as I understand she was hoping the matter would naturally disperse once the Mayor left office. It would appear that he then remonstrated with her after the WG and made comments that were tantamount to threatnening her with her job, that then involved the union, and subsiquently "Mauwice" becoming aware.

Hats off to Mrs E for not doing the tit for tat and running home to her husband with every comment that was made. Shame there are those who cannot.

Thanks, had a good break, didn't get to top up the tan though, bit damp in Devon.

Anonymous said...

Bertie,

Your powers are amazing. That pothole was filled in this morning. Mind you, they left all its neighbours alongside it. Why fill in one and not any of the others?

Bertie Biggles said...

12.22, what good news! If 'Strife' led to this being done, I am delighted that a reader in a position to do something 'got on with it'! It may well be possible that KCC Highways had already fallen into the hole and it was scheduled for filling. Pity about the other holes nearby!

Anonymous said...

Thanet has the worst potholes in the world. Fact. TDC and KCC should be ashamed!