Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Light Bulb

Near where to I live, there is a light bulb. It lights the road and path under a railway bridge.

The light bulb is dead. It is an ex light bulb. It is no more.

Without light, the path under the bridge is pitch black at night. I mean dark, really dark - you could bump into somebody walking in the opposite direction.
  • A neighbour (who originally arranged to have the light installed, and arranged the funding), says that the railway company agreed to maintain the upkeep of the light. He asked me to report the fact that the light had died, to the railway company.
  • The local manager at the railway company declined to fix the light, saying they have no recollection of the agreement to fix it.
  • I then telephoned the Network Rail Help Line. They tell me that as the bridge is a road bridge, the light is likely to be the responsibility of the 'Highways Authority'.
  • I dig further and establish that the District Council maintain very few lights, but that the most likely authority will be the County Council.
  • I speak to the County Council. A very helpful lady zooms in on her map and tells me that they have no lights, for which they are responsible, in our area.
  • We live in the middle of nowhere.
  • The nice lady tells me, with some conviction, that the light will be the responsibility of the local Parish Council. She even provides me with a telephone number for the Parish Clerk.
  • I leave a message for the Parish Clerk, outlining the problem.
  • I then see a senior manager from the local railway company (the actual person who allegedly agreed to maintain the light, some years ago). He re-affirms that there is no corporate memory of the agreement and again declines to help.
  • A conversation then follows with the Parish Clerk, who confirms that the Parish is not a 'Lighting Authority' and maintains no lights whatsoever. He follows it up with an email.
  • I then write to our County Councillor seeking guidance, for I know not what to do next.
  • The neighbour who original told me that the light is broken, then tells me that the light is definitely wired in to the electrics at the nearby station and, indeed, is controlled by the same timer that controls all the lights on the station platforms.
  • We go to look at the light and somebody decides to buy an appropriate light bulb from "Light-Bulbs-R-Us" or similar, and repair the light.
Is this a sign of the 'Big Society'?

I know who I think should repair the light. Any thoughts?

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