Friday, 22 August 2014

Bridge finally gets a clean

For rather a long time the local railway bridge has not been keeping the Worcester Park end up as far as putting on a decent welcome to the London Borough of Sutton (if travelling from Kingston) or to the Royal Borough of Kingston if coming the other way.

Local discontent has been rumbling on for a while such that a local campaign was set up back in November of 2011 to try to get it sorted out. In March last year when over 100 people had joined the campaign we were promised by local Lib Dems that it was all going to be fixed by the early autumn of last year. The local Lib Dem MP had even sent a letter to Network Rail.

Just when all hope seems to have faded the painters in bucket lifters turned up during the recent spate of roadwork and lo and behold the bring has been painted!

Local parliamentary candidates Paul Scully and James Berry
It seems this was not just a coincidence. In an email dated 8th June which has been disclosed to the blog, Kingston's Conservative parliamentary candidate, James Berry wrote to a local resident:
"I met with Paul Scully at the railway bridge on Saturday morning. We have contacted the new Chief Exec of Network Rail and asked for a meeting with someone with authority to make decisions about the much needed works as soon as possible."
Paul Scully, our parliamentary candidate on the Sutton side was delighted with the result, telling the blog that:
"It's brilliant that the bridge has finally been repainted. The one silver lining of Central Road being dug up again was that Network Rail were able to get on with the repainting after James and I picked up the baton with them. Now we've finally seen some action. The next thing we need to sort out is keeping the pigeons away!"
They even managed to paint out those really old light green bits!

As many readers have already suggested, it probably won't be long before the mentally challenged graffitists decide to try and seek our attention again by defacing the bridge, so you'd better enjoy the view while it exists in this pristine state.

Here's another photo you can use to convince your children's children that it was actually once clean and graffiti clear.

44 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Lord Cynic said...

What about the horrid pigeons and pigeon sh*t. Has that been dealt with??? I'd rather have the graffiti than that awful Columbidae carbuncle on the underside of the bridge, on the pavement, the central divide, and on the road.

Gino said...

I think the pigeon droppings are at least a change from the BS that the Libs keep putting on their leaflets.

Guest said...

If you are expecting it to be dealt with by Paul Burstow, Sutton's Lib Dem MP or by Ed Davey, Kingston's Lib Dem MP, the clear lesson from this bridge repainting experience is that you have false hope and they are capable of delivering sweet f.a.

Suggest you write to James Berry or Paul Scully, as they seem to be making progress where the likes of Burstow and Davey have completely failed.

Dave said...

I'd be very surprised indeed if the campaign or the politicians made one jot of difference to the scheduling of the re-painting. Maintenance of infrastructure is planned years ahead, and I could not see NR rescheduling work unless there was a safety issue. Bridge painting is almost always done at night, so scheduling it when half the road was closed made good sense. Still, if the politicians want to claim responsibility we can't stop them.

Agreed, it is quite an improvement. As to the pigeons, a verminous nuisance and health hazard, their extermination (ideal solution) or discouragement would be up to the EHOs at RBK and LBS to enforce on NR. Now, if the politicians were to put pressure on THEM, perhaps we could be rid of the pigeons - but will they?

Dave said...

I am no supporter of the Lib Dems, but every time you stoop to making juvenile, snide remarks you demean yourself. No surprise that you didn't get elected.

Gino said...

Freedom of speech David ,enjoy.
I did demean myself by standing for a party too similar to the Libs .
Now though i am wiser and more equipped .
Your right I am young at heart .
Jog on.

Alex said...

I would suggest (especially to Dave) that it's worth reading the quote of the Network Rail spokesman in this week's Sutton Guardian, "The biggest difficulty we have when it comes to repairing or working on rail over road bridges IS GETTING ROAD CLOSURE, AND THE COUNCIL WORKED WITH US TO SECURE ONE. The bridge is back to looking good again."

So there it is: the biggest problem to getting this bridge repainted was Council engagement! No wonder it took so very long!

And given that the stretch of the road they refer to (ie Central Road) has one end in Kingston and the other in Sutton, it should be pretty obvious that repainting the entire bridge and organising the closures in both directions would have taken the agreement of BOTH Kingston AND Sutton Councils.

Surely the even bigger clue is that James Berry is from Kingston and Paul Scully is from Sutton? It seems pretty clear that they realised the only way to get this bridge repainted was by both Boroughs cooperating with each other and with Network Rail.

The bridge repainting is a great improvement so we are grateful to Paul Scully and James Berry. It's a real shame that for years, neither Kingston's MP or Sutton's MP managed to work out what the problem was and come up with the easy answer: communication!

Perhaps a change of both MPs and replacement by two people who can clearly work together might solve or at least ease other issues? Like getting the traffic flow moving between the A24 and A3? [As opposed to 'do nothing' for another 5 years].

Guest said...

"Mentally challenged graffitists"? God, this blog really has gone downhill under the present writer. What an ignorant and foolish thing to say. How do you think that sentence would be taken by someone with learning or behavioural difficulties?

Gino said...

Paying the high levels of tax and travel costs that people suffer ,grateful ? I think when red tape prevents progress the least politicians can do is bring the system up to date and stop batting issues around for political gain. It seems Burstow dropped the ball on this one ,of course the two lame horse race is maintained .Communication is part of the issue so to is attitude ,hands out of pockets and a get on with it ,that is what (we pay)for and what the W.P community deserve. In one picture above heads is the word zeal ,a great quality. Unfortunately the word Minsk is prevalent and that is far from good in urban lingo apparently . Grateful for failure ?Alex ,it doesn't wash any more .

Guest said...

"God, this blog really has gone downhill" What an ignorant and foolish thing to say. How do you think that sentence would be taken by someone religious? Specially if they are acrophobic!

Guest D said...

Gino, the bridge and the railway embankment are in Kingston, so it's James Berry that would have dropped the ball on this one. I understand it's bad form for an MP to interfere in someone else's bailiwick. But perhaps he should have put more pressure on the Minister for Transport, Patrick Mcloughlin or maybe party loyalties have more effect in a pre-election year.

The real issue is the boundaries being lines on a map rather natural divisions between communities, so WP ends up being split in three and of little interest to any but the ward representatives.

Dave said...

"THE COUNCIL WORKED WITH US TO SECURE ONE" and " the only way to "get this bridge repainted was by both Boroughs cooperating with each other and with Network Rail" - exactly!
NR liaise with the appropriate Council Highways Department(s), and TfL if necessary, months before the work is done. Not with a couple of councillors a few days before, no matter what communications they may have had nearer the date of the work. NR also have to schedule a 'possession' of the railway, something that also has to be planned months before - perhaps your councillors arranged that too? It's a wonder they weren't on site during the night (dry) paint brush in hand to pose for the cameras.

"So there it is: the biggest problem to getting this bridge repainted was Council engagement!" - is a gross misrepresentation of what the NR spokesman said!

Are you seriously claiming that the re-painting would NOT have been done at this time but for the 'intervention' of these two councillors? Absurd - you clearly have an agenda here, but few will fall for it.

Thinker said...


Thinker said...

I miss the old Sunday scandals in the papers so I love this site. I particularly enjoy the Toryboy hecklers that pop up to support the occasional beneficial theory. This thread is superb for that and I thank you.

Just imagine if the Council had arranged to close down Central Road to clean off graffiti from the bridge as your two MPs were suggesting; what fun you could have had blaming all the other Parties for that.

Furthermore, you seem to be condemning the Council for waiting until there was an emergency repair needing closure of the road, before their Mayor (and yes it was the Mayor) helped to organise the combined works to minimise disruption.

You really made my day with this one. Do keep it up.

Gino said...

So the grand achievement that we are to be grateful for has a new claimant .
God bless all that travel or are delayed under it ,I can imagine the unveiling and please clear up when you all leave in coalition .

Gino said...

Refer to Fenwick post.
Any ?

A wonder said...

As an OLF voting board member former Cllr Fenwick, please do tell us what "improvements" to WP you consider achieved the aim to boost trade in our town centre?

Alex said...

"Although NR assured the Lib Dem Cllrs (including myself, former Cllr Stephen Fenwick) and local residents that the works would be completed in August 2013, they have obviously planned this well in advance of Scully's (or the Tories) "interventions."

The repainting never took place in August 2013, nor at any other time during the former WP & Nonsuch Ward Lib Dem Councillors' period of office. This is despite the aforementioned councillors having the golden opportunity of a free window of many months of Central Road road works, whilst they frittered away millions of pounds from the 'Outer London Fund'.

"it was myself and the other previous Lib Dem Cllrs for Worcester Park/Nonsuch wards and Paul Burstow MP who did 99% of the communication and campaigning between 2012 and 2014 in getting the bridge repainted".

Perhaps you can substantiate the claim of "99%", since 0% of this bridge is in Sutton and 100% of it is located within in the London Borough Kingston? Surely you can't seriously be claiming that the former WP & Nonsuch Lib Dem Councillors were controlling wards outside their own, and outside their own Borough?

Even as late as May of this year, none of the former WP & Nonsuch Lib Dem Councillors could provide ANY information whatsoever on the repainting of this bridge: There was no evidence of any recent communication with Network Rail and for sure, no date had been set - probably because the work had not been done to get a date set. [They even seemed unaware that the Chief Executive of NR, who they claimed to be in touch with... had actually changed!].

The former WP & Nonsuch Lib Dem councillors made many claims about getting the bridge repainted, but never got the task completed. They made 0% progress and they deserve 0% of the credit. However, happily, after 4 years of nothing being achieved, the job has now done quickly and effectively, (logic suggests primarily on the Kingston side). Thanks to James Berry, Paul Scully, Network Rail and I suggest, to the elected councillors whose ward this bridge is actually in!

Alex said...

How has James Berry "dropped the ball on this one"?

Ed Davey is the [Lib Dem] MP for Kingston, NOT James Berry, (who the blogger introduces at the top of this article, as the Conservative Parliamentary candidate).

We have Sutton's Lib Dem loyalists claiming one minute that James Berry didn't actually achieve anything, and at the same time, blaming him for the inactions of their own Lib Dem Kingston MP! ... Truly surreal!... Certainly worthy of inclusion in "Focus"!

Gino said...

I look forward to the official report of events regarding this issue .
The council tax payer deserves to know the truth.

Alex said...

My guess it will be the wooden structure that was commissioned at great cost for the side of Iceland. Traders did write to the OLF Board, suggesting the money could be better spent - but the OLF Board thought they knew better.

Allegedly, it went considerably over the £10,000 budget and at a late stage, suddenly, it was realised that the intended wall could not take the weight ... so the whole thing has been completely cancelled!

But perhaps ex-Cllr. Fenwick can confirm this?

Alex said...

I completely agree Gino - it will certainly be interesting to see how getting a rail over road bridge in Kingston can be repainted "99%" undertaken by 4 former Lib Dem Councillors and a Lib Dem MP who are ALL outside the actual ward and even outside the Borough!

Gino said...

Too many fingers in pigeon pie me thinks.
Is Casey Jones the next claimant though ?

Gino said...

Perhaps you can quote from one of your party publications distributed at that time and do keep your definition of clarity going.

Alex said...

Firstly, Dave, with regard to 'agenda', here's my observation: You know how people with a racist agenda often say or write (completely without thinking), "I am no supporter of racism, but..." They think they're cleverly concealing that agenda, but it couldn't be more obvious to the rest of us! Now let me refer you to your opening statement, written below: "I am no supporter of the Lib Dems, but..." There's the only agenda I can spot, Dave.

Thanks for your analysis of the bridge repainting. Above, you repeatedly refer to "these two councillors". Are you referring to James Berry and Paul Scully? If so, perhaps you can kindly identify which wards they represent? My understanding is that that they are Parliamentary candidates, rather than councillors, since that's what the blogger them as. (Obviously they are very different terms - one is elected and the other isn't, for starters). You may of course, know better, if you are in contact with the local Liberal Democrats.

The difficulty many will have in believing the claim that the repainting of the bridge was "99%" organised by the former Lib Dem Councillors in WP and Nonsuch Wards is that (aside from them being in the wrong Borough to do it), the opportunity arose from the EMERGENCY repair of electricity cables in Central Road. So unless ex-Cllr. Fenwick and his ex-Cllr. colleagues knew that the EMERGENCY repair was going to happen, and precisely when, many, many months before the rest of us (and consciously chose to withhold it), the claims look ever more doubtful.

The task of repainting a rail over bridge is naturally complex, as you've described. It will be interesting to see who did the doing and when. Won't it be revealing, if, in answer to ex-Cllr Fenwick's '99%' claims, the arrangements made primarily from the Kingston side, particularly if much of this work was done after the local elections, when the Lib Dem Council was ousted and a Conservative administration took control?

As for photo opportunities, a little bit ironic: Have you not encountered "Focus"? Sutton's Lib Dem councillors have claimed to be responsible for just about everything that works in the Borough! Whilst denying responsibility for everything they got badly wrong, like Victoria House.

Lastly, the promises of repainting the railway bridge have rumbled on for (literally) years, usually from the mouths of former Lib Dem Councillors representing the WP and Nonsuch Wards. Another pledge and promise that got repeatedly broken. The Network Rail representative identified the problem as getting road closure (clearly a Council responsibility in this case - and for years, a Council failing). If you think the representative was referring to a totally different bridge, could you identify it for us?

Alex said...

Guest D, getting the pigeon droppings removed sounds an attractive prospect, particularly if it can be billed to Railtrack. I note one of the Parliamentary candidates actually mentions the pigeons as "the next thing", which sounds like something's happening.

If it does get sorted, do you think ex-Cllr. Fenwick will state that "99% of the communication and campaigning" was by the former Lib-Dem councillors and Sutton's MP? [I'm still trying to get my head around the concept of Sutton Councillors and Sutton's MP claiming to be calling the shots inside Kingston!]

Guest D said...

Alex, I don't care who gets it done or who claims the credit for it, I think Paul Scully may actually do something about it, from his previous behaviour he seems to be more of an action than words person.

I take anything a politician says of every part with a huge pinch a salt, unless experience shows they are that rarity a truthful politician.

In regard to your argument with Dave he is right that maintenance work on bridges is actually planned a long way ahead, usually years. Railtrack will probably have already pencilled in the next time it will happen and put it in the bridges calendar, it is a major task for them to ensure that they are kept in good repair, but not that they look good.

Of course they can change their plans with a minimum of a months notice and probably did as Kingston were closing the road for other reasons.

But were these candidates responsible for that? Only if they caused the power cable failure!

AlanRogers1 said...

I sent an email about this to someone really important the day before the work started. I claim the credit for the the bridge being repainted. Thank you!

Guest said...

Alan, congratulations! You must be the missing 1% that failed to do it!

[Since former Councillor Fenwick reckons he and the other former Lib Dem councillors supplied the other 99%, which over the four years that they could have got it done, they completely failed to].

AlanRogers1 said...

So people had been complaining for four years and nothing happen. I sent an email and they sorted it out the next day. This cannot be a coincidence. I rest my case m'lud.

AlanRogers1 said...

Yes, let's spend a load of money on a public enquiry. The Council Tax payers deserve nothing less.

Gino said...

Contacting the MP for Sutton is an option ,be sure to mention (official ) and relevent information though. I appreciate your concern about council tax being spent on an inquiry ,I would be in favour of one ,however only if we were able to claim costs against those at fault. Perhaps the MP can look into that as well.Another change in the law needed.

Guest D said...

Alan, a politician will considered it money well spent, it's not their is it? And it might prove useful in their attacks against opposition parties and if they are found at fault it was a useful delaying tactic, the proles will have forgotten by then why it was asked for. This is particularly a good idea when you asking a quango to investigate as they will never come up with the report.

By the way thanks for getting the bridge painted :-)

AlanRogers1 said...

My pleasure. I can't guarantee to always achieve such a speedy resolution though!

Alex said...

Guest D, talking of power cable failure...

During the Great Sutton Outer London Fund 'squander', both the lower high street and adjacent entrance of the 'Waitrose' car park were dug up. Then, exactly where this Sutton OLF digging had been, the drains began failing, and the surrounding shops were experiencing power failures. [Now, what would be the most likely reason?]

Perhaps this is why ex-Cllr. Fenwick believes he and his Outer London Fund 'partners in squandering' should receive the credit for getting the road dug up a second time?

There was a long window of opportunity to get this bridge repainted when the high street was dug up last year - why wasn't it taken, if 99% of the "campaigning and communication" was allegedly done?

The inconvenient truth is that no part of the bridge is even in the London Borough of Sutton, so how could ex-Cllr. Fenwick and his ex-cllr. fellow Lib Dem WP & Nonsuch Councillors, (claiming 99% of the credit), have ever supply 99% of anything? [Except maybe hot air?].

Guest D said...

Alex, though I agree with you that Cllr Fenwick probably had little effect in getting the bridge painted, though he was probably told by Railtrack that painting was scheduled for last Oct, they obviously rescheduled.

I think I have to disagree that the OLF work was the probable cause. I understand that it is a 20kV cable that is being replaced not one of the local 440V distribution cables. Though the cable could have been damaged by the work. When they experience mechanical damage they usually explode in a shower of sparks with debris being thrown many feet in the air. Particularly as it's 'pair' was repaired prior to the OLF work.

Still the good news for rail users and the amount they pay in fares, is that the paints developed for the Forth Bridge mean that our bridge probably won't be painted again for 40 years. Of course the flip side is the current taggers will be Grandads and Great Grandads by then and their grandchildren will have little room left to make their mark.

Gino said...

Today ,3rd August ,14 .The materials that have been left behind are a hazard to drivers and pedestrians.

Lane1 said...

When you need to gain access or work in the vicinity of a Network Rail asset, they require a Form A or a Form B to be carried out, risk assessments and method statements, and they can take up to 28 days to approve it. Having worked extensively with NR before, their processes are rigorous to say the least. An email one day, and a painter the next my friend is an impossibility in their world. This would have been planned for some time.

AlanRogers1 said...

Drat, drat and double drat! I'd have gotten away with it if you hadn't come on here and ruined everything with your facts!

Guest said...

Did you steal that line from Nick Clegg, Alan? Anyhow, never mind, 'Facts' and 'Focus' rarely have any similarity, so why not just go with story? [I dare say it'll make a change from the 25th time we read "Victoria House to be demolished immediately! ... At some point in the future... Erm, well, hopefully!"].
Back in the real world, thanks to Paul Scully and James Berry, LB Sutton and LB Kingston could do with a couple of MPs who are 'doers', rather than those who pledge and promise - and break both.

Guest said...

Really there's no difference Railtrack would not have changed their plans because a couple of prospective MPs ask them, any more than if Alan asked them. The bridge was painted because it was scheduled and an opportunity arose because of the road works not because a couple of people asked nicely.

Oh by the way the change in the weather this week was because I asked for it.

Dave said...

Precisely! Politicians who think they can take credit for everything they dabble in that happens to come to fruition at a convenient moment must think the general public utterly naive; I'd say it's they who are naive. Insulting the public's intelligence must be a great vote-winner!
Event B happens soon after event A, so event A caused event B, seems to be their perverse 'logic'.
It's abundantly clear that nothing any politicians said, wrote or did with regard to the painting of the bridge had any influence whatsoever on the timing of the work. They, and their lackeys, should come clean and publicly admit it.

Dave said...

" this massive achievement" (perhaps there should have been a smiley in there somewhere?)
is nothing of the kind - it's Network Rail's scheduled infrastructure maintenance.

No matter how much puffing and blowing there has been over the years from various politicians, their influence on the scheduling of the work was NIL.

"99% of the communication and campaigning" is a meaningless statement as it can neither be proven nor disproved - that's why politicians make such liberal use of percentages and statistics.

Best advice to ALL the politicians still claiming that their people had any influence on the timing of the re-paint is to heed the Law of Holes, popularized by Denis Healey - when in one, stop digging.

Guest D said...

Dave though I agree with your analysis, look at this from a different perspective.

The are two scenarios, 1) the bridge was repainted according to schedule 2) the bridge was repainted due to political influence as claimed.

Let's analyse scenario 2, you have two individuals who have no mandate to represent the people of Kingston or Sutton browbeating or colluding with a Railtrack official to go against Railtrack's remit for political gain. Thus causing Railtrack extra expense and increasing our taxes and rail fares.

If scenario 2 is what happened, I suggest we have a public inquiry and Police proceedings to stamp out the corruption in Railtrack, heads should roll.

But no it's scenario 1 and a politico trying to claim responsibility for a coincidence, but is it a good idea for a candidate to suggest they would be involved in illegal activity?

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