Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Making plans with Nigel

Monday's Evening Mail had a piece about Cllr Nigel Dawkins, a Tory councillor in Bournville, part of the Selly Oak District. Apparently, new street lights on Northfield Road have been installed and Nigel is concerned that "airline pilots could get confused." This seems a little unlikely, but in the mind of a Tory, anything is possible.

So, the Mail went to the council, who said, "This is a scheme requested, approved and financed by the Bournville ward committee." For the uninitiated, this mysterious ward committee is made up of the three Tory councillors who represent the ward, including Nigel.

This improvement is actually above and beyond the scheduled programme of improvements from the Highways Department, as the Bournville ward committee (including Nigel, don't forget), specifically allocated an extra £23,000 to lighting improvements from the 'Clean & Safe' budget. This was used to improve lighting on this stretch of Northfield Road. Highways have to ensure a proper level of lighting along the road, so they used 8m tall lamp posts. To get the same coverage with 6m columns, more would have been needed, but this would have made the project unaffordable within the budget assigned by Nigel's own committee.

Checking back in the minutes of the Selly Oak district committee (which comprises the councillors from Bournville, Moseley & Kings Heath, Selly Oak and Kings Norton wards - 5 Tories, 5 Liberal Democrats and 2 Labour members, chaired by a Bournville Tory colleague of Nigel) from July 2004, we find that this upgrade was specifically mentioned. Indeed, "Councillor Dawkins spoke in support of the recommendation."

In summary, Nigel is complaining about a project he proposed, supported and for which he provided the budget. He's like a dog chasing its own tail - no wonder he didn't last long as a member of the council cabinet. At least he got his photo in the paper, eh?

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