There’s an automatic assumption by councils that reducing costs leads to poor services. I don’t believe that any more than I believe increased funding means better services.
In the private sector cost cutting is a way of life. Competition drives companies to find ways of doing more for less. Businesses needing two people to perform a job one can do soon become extinct.
What do you think Sainsbury’s would do if overgrown trees obscured their external security cameras? How many personnel would they deploy to debate the subject?
When Cheshire East had the same problem they referred it to members of the Sustainable Communities Scrutiny Committee (God knows how big their business cards are?)
Traders at Macclesfield indoor market, who rely on CCTV cameras for protection, said: ‘What’s the point in the cameras being there if they are not working properly?’
The SCSC said it was ‘concerned by the findings’ and will be attending a meeting. (It’s the sort of response you’d expect if plutonium had been discovered in Prestbury.)
Coun Jackson said: ‘There is a balance needed between retaining trees in the town centre and having an effective CCTV camera system’.
Yes there is: when the trees get in the way prune ‘em.
She added: ‘I support the maintenance programme that’s proposed but it appears it will take some time to obtain the relevant planning permission’.
You can see how trimming a few trees would tax the council’s response time. Trees grow so damn fast. It’s hard to keep up.
A committee report (which any tree pruner knows is essential) stated: ‘The current tree work is prioritised based on the level of obscuration’. Now, I’m not sure ‘obscuration’ is a real word but it’s a damn fine expressive one.
You and I might just call this foliage but that would be to understate the complexity of the pruning process. In Cheshire East the venerable members of the Sustainable Communities Scrutiny Committee refer to it as ‘tree inventory.’
So, we have a committee (with a huge title); a whole set of ‘findings’; a maintenance programme plus a meeting leading to a report dealing with ‘obscuration’ of the tree ‘inventory.’ Now, I don’t know how many councillors, officers, secretaries and administrators were involved in this herculean assessment but of one thing I am certain: YOU will pay the cost (and the trees have yet to be pruned.)
I shall, however, leave the final comment to traders from the indoor market who said: ‘This is a massive cock-up by the council. Did they forget that trees grow?’
In a word: YES.