Monday, January 02, 2006

Councils Of Despair

The planning department has been busy again:

"A hotel boss faces legal action — because he failed to get PLANNING PERMISSION for a vandal to damage his property. Sheikh Abid Gulzar, 60, spent £400,000 doing up his Victorian hotel — then a yob smashed a 3ft ornamental stone pineapple at the entrance. Stunned Mr Gulzar was told by Eastbourne Council in East Sussex that it counted as illegal “demolition work” in the town’s seafront conservation area. They have given him 28 days to promise to replace the pineapple — one of a matching pair at his Mansion Hotel — or face enforcement action. Indian-born Mr Gulzar said: “They’re crazy. The pineapple is next to impossible to replace. “The council is driving me bananas.”

And on the compensation culture that local councils fund to the tune of c£250m pa (see the Taxpayers Alliance), Zurich Municipal reports:

"A man tried to sue the council after he soiled his own trousers. He blamed the embarrassing accident on the council's decision to close a public lavatory at a bus station, and claimed he was owed the cost of a new pair of trousers.

Another man claimed to have injured his arm after slipping on steps owned by a housing association. In fact, he had jumped out of his window to avoid being caught with another woman when his girlfriend returned home unexpectedly.

Other claims include bin man who made a claim against his council after being "startled" by a dead badger which fell out of a bag, a shoplifter who sued because she fell down stairs while running from the scene of a crime, and a motorist who claimed he did not see a traffic roundabout in broad daylight - despite the fact that it had a large tree in the middle.

Perhaps the most bizarre claim was made that made by one man against several local authorities and the Archbishop of Canterbury "on behalf of all the homeless people in Britain".

For once the councils involved in these cases didn't pay up. Let's hope they continue to hold a firm line in 2006.

PS Dead badgers of course have always featured large in tales of council malfeasance. The pic above is from Parkvets, and shows a dead badger apparently painted over by council subcontractors on the A361 near Frome. But then...Frome has always been a slightly strange place.

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