Shedding light on this fiasco
PUBLISHED: 12:58 06 April 2006 | UPDATED: 11:39 04 May 2010
GEOFF Griggs commented in his column on the fiasco of the street lights installed in trees as part of the Fordham bypass scheme. Perhaps he d like to know how such a silly thing could happen. I asked the Department of Transport about their control of this
GEOFF Griggs commented in his column on the fiasco of the street lights installed in trees as part of the Fordham bypass scheme. Perhaps he'd like to know how such a silly thing could happen.
I asked the Department of Transport about their control of this project. Malcolm Tilling, based at the regional office in Bedford, replied in an e-mail.
He said: "I should also explain that we do not, however, supervise local authorities in the day-to-day discharge of their duties nor in the details of their expenditure on individual items within an approved scheme."
No management there then.
So off to Cambridgeshire and the director of sustainable infrastructure Graham Hughes who, when challenged on what quality assurance system the council had in place, replied, also in an e-mail:
"I would also point out that I didn't say that there were no QA procedures - you will recall that we said there were five staff from Atkins on site to supervise the works and this is the normal way of doing things. Atkins are one of our main partners and have their own QA procedures in place."
So Cambridgeshire weren't monitoring how the £11m-plus was being spent - it was all down to a consultant, W S Atkins, and Andrew Munroe, in their Cambridge office, said, in yet another e-mail:
"Most of the construction industry has moved towards contracts where the contractor takes increasing responsibility for the outcome of the project, and the amount of supervision is scaled down accordingly. Clients do not expect to pay these days for people to watch holes being dug, but expect the contractor to get it right."
So nobody in authority was looking at quality. Is it any wonder that the light-controlled crossing by the windmill took so long to get working in such circumstances?
And all this happened under the eagle eye of the local county councillor John Powley living on the spot who, coincidentally, is also in charge of council spending.