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Sunday, 24 September 2006
News from Oxted

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I can’t find anything in the papers about the recent incident. However last week’s local rags brought some other news. The Surrey Mirror offered us our

new “friendly” parking wardens.

So it seems I spoke too soon when I said I preferred the current situation to one where traffic wardens are used as revenue generators. It seems the Surrey Mirror is not yet au fait with this internet malarkey, because the story is not (yet) up on their website. The Sevenoaks Chronicle is more 21st Century because it covers both the parking story and the police station closure.  Maybe it’s me, but I
detect a whiff of Pravda in both The Chronicle and The Mirror. These are two controversial issues, yet neither paper presents any controversy. I wonder if it is because neither of these papers like to say anything that might offend their advertisers.

If we start with the parking, am I the only cynic who thinks that this is a rather strange way to deal with a parking shortage? Instead of providing better accessibility, the council employs two attendants who will

generate revenue

penalise offenders rather than solve the underlying problem. Furthermore, in my experience the worst and most persistent offenders are local businesses.  And this gumpf about
the parking attendants being “friendly” and “giving advice and directions to the public”? What do they take us for? This is blatant spin: Are we suddenly to believe that there is a need for this kind of service when everyone has coped just fine up till now? I don’t have a strong desire to defend the motor vehicle, or inconsiderate drivers. By all means pedestrianise the town centre, ban cars from within half a mile of the centre, and convert half our roads into bicycle and skating lanes. However these are issues to be argued, and debated, not reported as bland council press releases.

On the second issue, of the closure of the police station, the same sort of argument applies. The Chronicle article quotes East Surrey divisional commander Guy Darby as saying that all of the officers who currently serve Oxted will remain based there, and that a front counter with the same opening hours will ensure that they are just as, if not more, accessible.  The unspoken assumption is that (despite cut-backs over the years) Oxted is currently well served. Or perhaps a cynic might say that the cut-backs have already taken place and the station closing reflects that these changes have taken place over the past years? There may be no point keeping a police station if you have all but shut it down several years ago, but now you are considering selling off the building shouldn’t you be reviewing the decision rather than restating it as fact?  I have no answer, but it seems that our local journalists don’t either.

Note: Still having problems with my web host, and am unable to submit posts the normal way. This is getting ridiculous, and I’ve started looking for alternative providers.

Posted by bigblue on 24/09/2006 at 05:38 PM
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