Seven months have elapsed since the Conservative-UKIP coalition took control of the Council chamber in Southend-on-Sea. On their watch one has seen a distinctly indifferent performance across a variety of sectors. Perhaps it has been worse in the area of waste collection.
When the leaves began to fall, and then stay for some time clogging pavements and gutters, it began to look like another failing. However, whilst the council contractor was slow in clearing them, clear they eventually did. Well, mostly. There are still some patches where piles of leaves can be found.
The slowness did make for dangerous pavements and roads (I skidded on a large pile of leaves made slippery by heavy rain); they also obscured parking bays. The leaves hid also sorts of hazards whilst they awaited clearing.
This was not just my experience, but of the many residents who reported their concerns to me.
I accept that instantly cleared streets everywhere is not possible, but I struggle to understand why many roads lay buried under autumn leaves for several weeks.
What has been noticeable over a far longer period is the foliage that adorns our pavements. A few will doubtless welcome nature's brief triumph. Many will wonder why the borough has allowed to become so scruffy.
A short-term period of growth is sometimes difficult to manage, but sustained neglect over many months takes some explaining.
Scruffy Southend now appears to be home to a plague of litter-bugs - or perhaps litter clearance is another example of a slow and inefficient service overseen by the Tory-led administration.
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