Wednesday 6 January 2010

No wonder transport in Barnet is in a state of chaos !

I had an extremely urgent query for the Leader of Barnet Council, Lynne Hillan regarding the council's gritting of roads in Barnet. I needed to urgently check claims made on the LBC last night, on the James Whale show, regarding plans for gritting of the Boroughs Roads.

Not wishing to publish incorrect facts on the blog, I sent an email to Lynne Hillan. I immediately got the following response (phone no's masked by me) :-
I am currently out of the office until 8th January 2010.   If you want to contact me urgently, please call Caroline Gray on 0208 359 2***.  For Brunswick Park Ward issues, please contact my colleague Cllr Tambourides on 0208 368****or Cllr Lisa Rutter on 07956 ******.  Otherwise I will deal with your message when I return.
Lynne Hillan has not even been Leader for a month. Surely she realises that this type of major event needs hands on management. I'm not suggesting that she fly back from her holiday, but presumably she's been given a Blackberry courtesy of the council and the least she could do is is pick up her emails. When you take the top job, you get paid more. This is because you have to take extra responsibility. When crises occur, you have to be hands on. Even a note to contact her deputy, Councillor Andrew Harper would at least give the impression of someone being in charge.

The picture at the top was taken at 11am. It is of my road and it is quite clear that no gritting has been done. On a normal day, this would be filled with shoppers cars. From the snow on those parked, you'll notice that most haven't moved. 

The picture on the left here is the pavement. No sign of grit here either. My road is a busy cut through between Mill Hill Broadway and the A1/A41. Many people walk down to the Thameslink station from Apex Corner and beyond.  At this time normally there would be many people walking up and down.

Clearly it is dangerous, especially for the elderly and disabled. This leads us to another question regarding one of Lynne Hillans pet projects. The plan to get rid of wardens for the elderly and disabled in Sheltered Housing. What would these people do if there was a problem today? Call a mobile warden from the other side of the Borough? They'd probably be put through to a foreign call centre and told someone will come next Tuesday.

Unlike Lynne Hillan, these residents, who pay the same taxes as Hillan but don't get massive allowances in return, cannot swan off on holiday to avoid the worst of the chaos.

The bottom line is that the buck should stop at the top. An organisation without leadership is an organisation that will fail. That is why your road probably looks like my road, if you live in Barnet. That probably explains why you are at home, like I am, minding my children, rather than sending them to their school. I lived in Stockholm for a Swedish winter and todays snow is nothing. The schools don't shut down there, because the authorities have sensible plans. How much money has Barnet Council cost the economy by shutting schools and leaving roads unsafe. The reason that schools and roads are shut, is purely down to bad planning. If Council Leader, Lynne Hillan can't even be bothered to pick up her emails, is it any surprise that nothing else works.

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