I allowed irritation to get the better of me at last night's Traffic and Parking Working Party and Cabinet Committee.
The meeting began with me trying to locate some painkillers to head off a toothache. A female member of the public generously gave me some. When I later voted against the item she was there for (to amend a one-hour parking restriction so that it would occur three hours earlier than the current start time of 2pm) she was quite offensive to me (in the break that followed this item).
"I wish I hadn't given you those tablets" she said, adding "I hope you get an abscess". The resident (of Tyrone Road in Thorpe Bay) whilst incredibly rude is also a coward as she refused to identify herself when I later challenged her for her rudeness. Her husband also claimed I was biased, I lie that I am pleased to quash as such here.
I have no particular interest in Thorpe Bay, no more so than any other ward in the borough. I rarely visit it, although I do pass through it quite regularly. My vote hinged upon the arithmetic of the issue: there was 90 representations in support of the move of time slot, as opposed to 3021 who preferred the status quo.
The only bias I showed was to back the 97.1% who wanted no change. When the overwhelming majority want something then unless it transgresses some moral code I see it only as bowing to democratic will to allow them their way.
I have a dentist appointment tomorrow, and hope that the rude Thorpe Bay resident does not see her wicked wish fulfilled.
I have to confess that this unwarranted attack did irk me, and I appraised the Chair of the meeting as to what had happened.
A second incident irked me (it was one of those nights). Parking surveys are usually endorsed by all ward members. When I conducted one involving a thousand residents I ensured that my two (then) fellow Conservative councillors were appraised of what was going on, and named in the letter I sent out. Twice now the Conservative councillor has not returned this courtesy. This outraged me - I try to play with a straight bat. I understand the pressures of trying to win support and votes, but surely there are some things where this should not apply.
Perhaps I am naive. Onwards.
A victory of sorts, both for my campaigning and for the residents of Westcliff Parade who will now see their road made one-way for its entirety. This is the second time I have requested this in my time as ward councillor, and after the first refusal this was successfully passed last night with no fuss at all.
Westcliff Parade will also see residents parking by permit. All changes will be after April of this year - let's hope that the further council cuts that are all but inevitable do not delay this too much.
I spoke up about verge hardening, where grass verges are covered in concrete to enable them to be parked on. I said that the council should be using grasscrete or similar to allow the most environmentally friendly solution possible.
I had an agenda item added at my request: Number of Residential Parking Permits Allowed Per Household. This will be discussed as part of the parking strategy.
Three hours, mostly fruitful despite the irking.
One thing before I go. This committee is two in one, there being a Cabinet Committee, a trio of Tories who can choose to ignore the working party and its decisions. I find this a queer thing, wondering that all our debating and voting can be dismissed at the whim of Cllrs Byford, Flewitt and Cox. You have to wonder sometimes.