Civil Duties

It is so easy for life to be a breeze.

But variables get in the way of this ease.

For years I have been reporting many different issues and getting little bits sorted. Most of the issues reported are relating to road maintenance and therefore go to the Northamptonshire County Council’s Street Doctor, now through the portal of FixMyStreet.  Some issues relate to the borough council and are dealt with by email.

Time passes and I forget what I have done. I have decided to note down some recent examples and also go back through some old emails and my photo stream and find a few dozen. I haven’t documented my successes anywhere before. This is to note them but also I can use it to keep a tab on what’s happening and what’s not. Also admittedly I can show off my success stories. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Do note that I report what I deem needs to be fixed and what quite often comes back is the generic response that “The defects identified do not currently meet NCC investigatory levels, will continue to monitor through Highway safety inspections”.  However this seemingly automatic response changed with the ability to add photos which appeared towards the beginning of 2019 and it seems that providing hard evidence means it cannot be simply added to a list but needs to be sorted with vitesse.

I have only just began writing this (Q2, 2020).  When I remember I will add previous examples and backdate them.

I firstly thought I would include this screenshot.  When I received this reply (July 2020), I laughed.  I go to the effort of taking a photo and drawing a little marking on a map.  Rather than solely words, the imagery hopefully will get it sorted quicker.  In this case, some plonker had smashed an entire bottle into tiny shards all over the path.  It could have split dog’s paws, a child from the adjacent play area could have fallen in it or a bicycle could have got a puncture.


Northampton Road, Wellingborough

Back in 2016 I reported, on many occasions the poor road surface condition and potholes along the stretch of Northampton Road from Sainsbury’s to the traffic lights.  Northamptonshire Highways have had an awful policy as of late of patching works and filling the odd hole here and there.  After a very short time, the alteration in quality of surface leads to an even more uneven road surface and eventually more potholes.  However back in 2017, it was retarmacked entirely!

 


Northampton Road mini- roundabout

UPDATE: I have since found out that Northamptonshire Highways have decided to make alterations. They have only decided to put in large kerbs to stop lorries mounting the kerb as they turn left coming from Westfield Road.

 


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Someone drove into the traffic lights. I am not sure what speed they must have been doing or exactly what happened to make this error. I asked the question on Facebook how it occurred and two separate witnesses on the road said it was about 3am and it appeared that two cars were heading in the same direction. They believed, from all the shouting, they witnessed that it was a case of dangerous driving. Bizarrely, despite a likely police attendance and the fact that some authority wrapped it in tape it was not reported and left in that state for ages. I reported and it was soon sorted. The sharp objects were removed, replaced the barriers and the bollard.


Irthlingborough Road mini-roundabout

This sign was driven into.  This was left for a couple of days.  I reported it.  An eyewitness said that it happened at 3.45am one morning and the driver just drove off.  I phoned up the emergency number to get the electricity temporarily stopped to ensure no one gets shocked.  It was replaced soon after.


Virtual Meetings – Borough Council of Wellingborough

I very much doubt it has skipped your attention but the coronavirus happened.  At the beginning of 2020, councils up and down the land had to quickly get themselves set up online, some kicking and screaming, so could continue to hold meetings.  The Borough Council of Wellingborough held its first virtual meeting, I think, on 26th May 2020.  I emailed the democratic services officer to complain that even I, a relatively ok computer person, could not easily find the link to Microsoft Teams, their chosen platform.

Here’s a screenshot from that night of the homepage.  Where’s the link?  It was actually on a carousel with three other news items rotating round in the bottom centre every few minutes.  I asked for it to be prominent, perhaps at the top of the page and voila.

 

Here’s a screenshot from the night of a meeting on 30th September 2020:


Croyland Road – Cycleway sign

Usually if a sign is facing the wrong way I report it to the council for a Highway engineer to correctly align it correctly. However, it can take Highways a while to respond to individual signs so this one I correctly as it was a safety issue. It had been turned completely away from approaching traffic.


Gloucester Place zebra crossing

On 17th July 2019 I reported the terrible fading of the white lines of the zebra crossing just outside The Palace near Gloucester Place. I received an update on my report stating they ‘have already been made aware of this previously’ and that the repainting works have been ‘added to our forward programme’.

July 2019

This was the image I attached to the report. Owing to the condition of it and the need for this to be done in the warmer, drier month, I guessed maybe in about a month or two.

I reported this again on 29th September 2019 and received exactly the same response.

Nearly 9 months later, on a rainy day, I reported it yet again. The report was made a couple of weeks later on Sunday 12th April 2020. The rain made the fading even more severe. I stated ‘It is so faded. Does that make the council responsible if someone is hit and injured’.

Zebra crossing in the rain

Magically, a few days later it was repainted!

Repainted zebra crossing - April 20202

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Sign resurrection

I guess some awful driver drove into the 20mph on Henshaw Road, Wellingborough right by a Primary School and zebra crossing.

Photo on 10th March 2020.

2020-03-10

2020-03-10

 

1st April 2020

2020-04-01

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Croyland Park signs

A recent case I was proud of was getting the notice boards changed at the entrances to the park. It had damaged them and they looked rubbish. I had to send numerous emails and it took ages to do but I was eager to get this sorted to make the town look nice. This is an area thousands of people walk past when they visit the borough for the International Waendel Walk so I wanted it to look good.

May 2018:

2019:


Lights out

A common issue I report is when traffic lights bulbs have blown.  I am not going to give every example here but here’s one:

Another example is on the 16th September 2019 I sent a report saying “Green is out on traffic light on Castle Way” and the very next day I received a reply saying “Engineer has attended site 17/09/2019 @12:40 and replaced lamp.  Thank you for making us aware of this issue”.  Fantastically quick response!

 

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Pothole opposite Ye Golden Lion

On 19th April 2020 I reported an almighty pothole that appeared opposite Ye Golden Lion just before the junction with Doddington Road.

The following week, on 25th April, I got an email saying it was fixed.

And voila! Wonderfully quick.


Drain overflowing

For well over year a group of us had been reporting the drains near the crossing as overflowing.  I went out again and noticed it was still the same.  I checked FixMyStreet and others had reported it again towards the end of December 2020 it had been reported but still no action had been taken.  I found some photos from around that time and asked if there had been an update.  A week later and the blaster was out.  Let’s hope this clears it.  During heavy rain the drain is completely clogged up and it flows so heavily.  Drivers speed through it soaking pedestrians.

 


Glass

I have reported the odd broken bottles and tiny shards often through parks.  I have noticed it quite a lot in Croyland Park especially near the children’s play equipment.  It would be horrible if I child falls and their hands get cut by the glass, or a dog’s paws or a cyclists’ tyres get punctured.  I report it quickly but taking a photo and including a screenshot of Google Maps so it can be found and cleared as quickly as possible.   NORSE sort it quite quickly.

Here’s an example of some glass left on the pavement / road on Castle Road.  Sorted promptly.

 


Lights out

I cannot easily count how many street lights I have reported out.  They are vital to make sure everyone 1) can see where they are going and 2) feel safe.

Just the other night ( February 2021), I noticed two out in Croyland Park.  My phone has a ‘night sight’ feature which I forgot to turn out so annoyingly it showed it not as dark as it actually was!

Here, even I fell trap of reporting it to the wrong place.  Usually street lights are reported on FixMyStreet but because this is within a park it falls under the jurisdiction of the borough council.  A few emails later and the bulbs are set to be replaced.

And as per usual, I included a map with crosses on.

 


Gold Street / Cross Road

I have reported the potholes and poor road surface condition along Gold Street so many times over the years on Street Doctor. I have often received the ‘does not meet the requirements’ response. Since the newer FixMyStreet photo upload, there is no denying that there potholes need filling. This is at the end of Gold Street as it becomes Cross Road. I reported it last week and just today I heard that within 7 days they will repair it. Let’s hope it does not cause damage or injury in the meantime.

 


Midland Road Traffic Lights

I have reported many issues with traffic lights including when bulbs go and when they get stuck. In April 2021, I reported this as someone has moved the traffic light head to face the wrong way.


Bollard missing, hole in the floor

I noticed this the other day (April 2021). I assume the bollard was damaged and removed? Either way it has left a hole. Someone’s foot could go down it and they twist their ankle. Reported. Soon to be fixed. This is on Poplar Street.

About a week or so after reporting, a new bollard was erected.