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Kevin Kiernan muses on the success or otherwise of New Year resolutions, presumed ‘cost- saving’ activities by the Estate Office and planning forethought by the City’s Planning Department

Kevin Kiernan I

t’s that time of year when you reflect on whether you have stuck to your New Year’s Resolutions like a determined limpet or whether you have barely hung on by your finger tips... or worse? Knowing my track record of failure, I have tried two alternative methods – firstly, instead of being resolute I try to be irresolute and, by failing yet again, possibly achieve the opposite! Iffy at best.

Being dissolute is also an option. It

worked for Henry VIII, with his dissolution of the monasteries. Closing down a religious house might invalidate my National Trust membership though, so instead I turned to my under-used cassette tape collection which could do with a bit of dissolution, giving me much needed space for my forthcoming collection of Kate and Wills’s wedding regalia. Wills is wisely doing what I did, which is to get married just before your hair gets too thin. Getting wed in a Prince Philip tribute haircut is a non-starter. One body which seems to have

taken its resolutions seriously is our Estate office. They appear to be on an efficiency drive. I first noticed it when a corridor light went phut (to user the technical term). Instead of replacing quickly they cannily waited until a number of lights went out in other corridors so they could do the lot in one big batch. How sensible, how efficient, I thought. Suddenly I felt that, with the Estate Office’s blessing, I could leave the washing up until every last plate and cup needed cleaning. To give it a PR spin I could then have monthly ‘Festivals of Washing Up’.

The Estate’s plan was slightly marred when they did not have enough staff to do a blitz replacement on all the lights. Indeed they ran out of replacement bulbs. But these are


just early teething troubles in an otherwise World Class Plan. To solve their staffing overload problems, I asked why not let the cleaner change the light bulb? The reply came back that she was too short. I enquired whether a step ladder could be used. No reply. I wonder whether, by some malign chance, the Estate Office have never heard of step ladders or indeed any aid to artificially increasing your height.

When the Barbican’s architects first put the plan, with the 40 floor tower blocks, to the Estate Office did they look at it in disbelief and mockingly enquire whether the architects had any giants who could build something so tall. How do the Estate Office change light bulbs in their own office? Perhaps they stand on each other’s shoulders like acrobats or rummage around at home for their old platform shoes. Possibly they were inspired by the

Police Motorcycle Display Team who construct a human pyramid of policemen on, say, 4 bikes. Assuming that this had its roots in operations I wonder what was the crime that a pyramid of policemen sharing four motor bikes was the answer to? Perhaps cowboy window cleaners? In a similar way, training police dogs to go over a mini see-saw and jump through a fiery hoop is not a situation that they are likely to meet when in hot pursuit of a villain. Perhaps the Police Training Manager at Hendon is a surrealist and no one has noticed? In any event, on the basis of it not doing any harm, I slipped an ‘Innovations catalogue’ into the Estate Office letter box – it has a number of handy step ladders in it at the back. And of course, to the Estate Office, it would indeed be an Innovation. One area of Local Government which could do with being a little less

resolute is the Planning Department. In their pavement widening scheme in Cheapside which they term an ‘improvement’ they have managed to cause months of disruption with one- way traffic slaloming its way along. To see a bus in the City going along its normal route these days is a time for cheering and flag waving. I am not sure why the pavements needed widening. Possibly in a respose to a ‘Planning for Obese Britain’ directive from Eric Pickles. Perhaps by calling it a ‘road narrowing’ scheme it wouldn’t be such an obvious ‘improvement’. In a refreshing change from this ‘Newspeak’ I notice that the development by St Paul’s is called One New Change. What a breath of fresh air. Far from claiming any improvement to its precursor,


simply described as ‘New’ and a ‘Change’ – who could argue with that? Hopefully any dissolutions by the Estate Office to save cash by depopulating the Car Parks of attendants and fitting security gates

won’t be automatically termed an ’improvement’. To meet them half- way, perhaps we could suggest that we have the attendants there just once a month and we could then have a ‘Festival of guest parking , parcels and Tesco deliveries.’

Assuming that we all think that this is a bad plan, perhaps a very tall resident could pop into the Estate Office one night and put this plan on a top shelf and it might be quietly forgotten about.

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