Archive | April, 2014

Hello, Mum, it’s Bert again, writing to you from Skypark

29 Apr

Well, actually, I’m NOT writing to you from Skypark today.  It seems that there are so many people that can’t get there (including me until I can find a place I can afford at Cranbrook) that those of us being sent out to the “hubs” just can’t seem to keep up with it.

We thought that changing our hours to 10 pm to 6 am (to avoid the aircraft noise from the runway next to our offices at Skypark) that would cut down the number of people wanting to see us in the local towns and villages.  That worked for a while (actually, the consultants said that it would work for ever but it seems they didn’t quite get the mark of these awful people in East Devon) and people got wise to us:  they started camping out on our hub doorsteps as early as six o’clock at night so they could be sure of seeing us when we arrived.

They really are awful, Mum – they published our days and times on some of their really dreadful “blogs” and suggested that people should make a party of it and arrive at the queues with sandwiches and drinks as early as possible.  They even brought their tablets and phones with them so that they could play music.  THEN people with guitars and things arrived and next thing they are all having these big parties whilst waiting.  They caught on and now it seems everyone wants to queue for the hub visits and join the parties and we are inundated with work.  Honestly, Mum, I don’t know how long I can take this.  When I took the job I was told that it was unlikely I would ever meet a member of the public and now it seems I have met most of the public in East Devon – and I don’t like it!

Luckily, for the sake of my sanity I got to spend a couple of days at Skypark recently for a training course on “How to deal with customers”.  At first, I thought it would be about the dreadful people I meet at the hubs but actually, it turns out they aren’t customers at all:  they are just trouble-makers who have to be kept quiet and we we were told it really doesn’t matter what you tell them – either they don’t believe it or it isn’t true anyway and so it doesn’t matter at all what we say to them.

(Pause)

I have just been on the Customer Service Training course – and, oh, how I enjoyed it!

Our customers are actually the developers – and what a lovely bunch they are!  They usually turn up in Bentleys or Rolls-Royces (I even saw a Lambourghini once – honestly!) and first of all they have lunch in the Michelin-star Executive Dining Room.  When they finish lunch (which can sometimes be as late as six o’clock because they have so much to talk about) they are always absolutely charming.  One of them even tipped me for opening the door for him!  And it was a really big tip!  He fell down as he got outside and mumbled something about “too much Chateau Lafitte” but I got him up and dusted him down and his cheauffeur got him into the back seat quite expertly where he fell asleep.  They must really work hard in the Executive suite.

We were given all sorts of useful information on the training course:  how to make sure that everything the developers want is at hand straight away – maps and consultation documents (we fill them in advance  – sometimes hundreds of them saying how happy people are to have the developers on their doorsteps – to make it quicker for them) and then the developers give us their drafts which we re-do with our logo on and then sign off as quickly as possible.  I have the very important job of putting up one notice of the development on a lamp-post and then taking it off the next day.  The trainer spent a lot of time with me on how to choose the right lamppost – right on the edge of the development, the darkest spot, and how to use really poor stickytape and thin string to keep it there just long enough for me to come back and pick it up.  It is a really responsible job and I do it to the best of my ability.

And I have saved the best bit till last – I have been told I am to be promoted:  Senior Customer Service Officer.  If it comes through I won’t be visiting any more of those terrible hubs!  My job will be make sure the wine cellar is always well stocked and to ensure a plentiful supply of lobster and caviare!  Now what do you think of that Mum.

I started off this letter feeling rather glum but now I am on a high.  Imagine how high I can rise here!  I might even get to serve the food in the Executive Dining Room one day!  Imagine it – your son Bert, serving the lobster and caviare to the most important people in the district.

Well, better go:  my next training course is silver service – can’t wait!

 

Your loving son,

Bert

 

Advertisements

Which councillor is too busy?

29 Apr

Recall the non-Whip Phil Twiss said Stuart Hughes had to be relieved of his EDDC chairmanships because he was “too busy” with his DCC work – comprehensively refuted by Councillor Hughes himself?

Below is EDDC’s Leader, Paul Diviani’s list of his responsibilities on his DCC web profile:

http://www.devon.gov.uk/paul_diviani_72009.pdf?d49778

and here is the equivalent for Councillor Hughes:

http://new.devon.gov.uk/democracy/councillor/stuart-hughes/

Which one is too busy to do two important jobs at the same time?

Prime Minister’s brother blames Coalition for shortage of lawyers

28 Apr

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2615306/Camerons-barrister-brother-tries-5million-fraud-trial-thrown-Coalition-legal-aid-reforms.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

Sidmouth Councillor says “We are not rebels”

28 Apr

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/news/tory_councillor_we_aren_t_rebels_1_3573309

Planning Minister asked to apologise to Conservative MP for “costing him his seat at next election”

28 Apr

http://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/11167434.Planning_minister_Nick_Boles_asked_to_apologise_to_Stroud_MP_for__costing_him_seat_at_next_election_/?ref=mmpg

“If anyone can come up with an idea of how to force a private business to put money into building houses on a site they are unsure they will make any profit from, I am very open for suggestions,” added Mr Boles.

Make it a condition of purchase of development land that it must have 50% of its buildings done by year 3 … or be sold on the open market …. ?

Tax penalties for land banking … ?

 

 

 

 

How they do it in Dorset – sea defences

28 Apr

http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Progress-pound-20m-Dorset-coast-scheme/story-21022760-detail/story.html

Some fascinating Local Plan history

26 Apr

On the. East Devon Alliance  website

eastdevonalliance.org

which seems to confirm that the project started badly and did not improve.