Thomas’ Blog: “Aveley By-pass and ringing the council…….cul-de-sacs of communication”
Date posted: 29-05-2012
“Below is an email I sent to the cabinet member for highways of Thurrock Council. Is it just me that becomes frustrated and, or am I just being unreasonable in my expectations of our local authorities and the people that they employ to deal with us on a day to day basis and who seem, it appears to me, to be obstructive and as unhelpful as they possibly can be?
Dear Councillor Smith (L) ,
I am a resident of South Ockendon and I have noticed that for the last week or so that the B1335, Aveley By-Pass Road has been closed between the roundabout that separates South Ockendon Stifford Road (B1335) and the roundabout connecting Sandy Lane/Romford Road and Mill Road. The By Pass,as you will probably know is the only road route into the Belhus Park Golf and Country Club, swimming pool etc!
I have a couple of questions for you, if I may, as you appear to be the Cabinet member for Transport and Highways within Thurrock Council. I should first state that I checked Essex County Councils website and then phoned the Highways department to ask my question of them, but after waiting about 15 minutes and then having to spell , phonetically, A V E L E Y to the lady on the other end, as Essex CC ‘s system apparently does not like road numbers ( how can the CC not like road numbers they deal with trunk roads whose main identifier surely is a a road designation number!) and telling her that it was in Thurrock , she did come back informing me that she couldn’t find it, asking, “are you sure it doesn’t have another name, and where about in the county is it?”
I stated, again, that it was in Thurrock and no, to the best of my knowledge it was and always has been the Aveley By-Pass and again (although she / they don’t like them) the road number is B1335. “Oh”, says she, “well that explains it then, if it is in Thurrock it is theirs, they are a Unitary authority you see…..” And she gave me the number for Thurrock Council, bless …. but a lot of good that did me.
While you may not be directly responsible for the telephone system or it’s operators you may like to enquire, on my behalf, as to why Thurrock residents are ignored and treated to such an abomination of a service. Is it an unspoken directive from the ruling party in power that if residents can’t get through and make enquiries/ complaint then we (the Council) can’t register those enquiries/ complaints? It then stands to reason that they will not form part of any figures for comparison on official statistics on such enquiries/ complaints being made, or is it that I am again being far to cynical? Or is it just a question of:
a) poor performance by operators,
b) not enough operators to deal with the quantity of calls
c) not enough departmental employees to deal with the quantity of calls
d) lack of interest by council employees dealing with members of the public’s enquiries/ complaints*
*The last one is based on the fact that when I did get through on the 652 652 number the FIRST time I selected option 3 for Highways. I waited 11 minutes and eventually the call was answered by, it sounded like Tracey, but when I asked the woman to repeat her name (I do like to make a note of the name of the person I am speaking to) the call was cut off!
I called again ignoring all the options and after 7 minutes the call was answered by an operator. I explained that I had previously called, that I had selected option 3 for highways, that eventually the call was answered and that when I asked for confirmation of the name of the person I was speaking to, the call was disconnected! The operator apologised and stated that she would put me through, that she understood all departments were experiencing heavy call volumes (See, b), c) and d) above !) but that she would remain on the line until my call was answered.
You’ve guessed what’s coming now haven’t you? Yes, I waited in silence for almost 5 minutes and then I heard the click, signalling that the call had been disconnected. Just what on earth is going on in Grays that makes the Council and it’s staff so unhelpful to it’s residents?
As I say, maybe you can look into the above for me.
Now, after all of that, getting back to the Aveley By-Pass….
Having checked the web pages for both Essex County Councils Highways and Thurrock Councils Highways I can find no mention of the current roadworks or road closure mentioned on either website, the reason for it, or the length of time the road is expected to be closed! I also do not fully understand why there is a diversion in operation that is sending motorists back along the B1335 Stifford Road to the B186 Stifford Hill then to Pilgrims Lane and from there on to the A1306 Arterial Road, West Thurrock and then under the M25 and on and on and on ……. adding about 5 or 6 miles to a journey that if the correct diversion signs were in place would take people people 5 minutes out of their way up Aveley High Street onto Mill Lane and back onto the Aveley By-Pass from the other end, maybe you would be so kind to favour me with a reply to these few points?