BNC Text J45

West Sussex Council: Highways Committee meeting. Sample containing about 3586 words speech recorded in public context

3 speakers recorded by respondent number C477

PS3S1 X f (No name, age unknown) unspecified
J45PSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
J45PSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 110606 recorded on 1994-01-14. LocationWest Sussex () Activity: highways committee meeting

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [1] point of view today because we have actually finalized that and that's the reason for the, the amended recommendation.
(PS3S1) [2] Right, are you happy with that?
[3] Oh, I'm sorry, Mr wants to speak, sorry.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [4] Thank you Chairman.
[5] Briefly, er I think that explains why we haven't got the erm item mentioned in paragraph seven.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [6] It does indeed, yes, sorry I should have mentioned that
(PS3S1) [7] Yes
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [8] Erm, this is something that I've spoken with about over a long period and what really has concerned me is that we've [...] two red signals, both facing the traffic and children and blind people could be crossing thinking the traffic had held up, and when I [...] or detecting [...] we rely on our own engineers maybe going round that way, maybe the police or public reporting it.
[9] That doesn't seem to me to be a very satisfactory way of detecting that these systems weren't working and with such complex systems as we've got such as the [...] system, it would take one person quite a number of minutes, if not hours, to check all the lights so I very much recommend this system and I should I suppose declare an interest when you start to talk about bulbs [...]
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [...]
(PS3S1) [10] Right, thank you.
[11] Is that recommendation agreed then?
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [12] Sorry Chairman.
[13] Just a very quick point.
[14] Could we also look at the actual time that's on crossing signals.
[15] Sometimes you hardly get any time to cross the road before the actual lights turn, and particularly the handicapped and the blind
(PS3S1) [16] Yeah, okay, thank you.
[17] I'm not taking any more on that thank you.
[18] We have agreed the recommendation.
[19] We will bear that in mind.
[20] Thank you Mr .
[21] Erm, item sixteen, the on-street [...] parking supply and management contract.
[22] You want to say something about this one as well?
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [23] I would like you please to refer to the county secretary in the recommendation on page seventy three with the county surveyor.
[24] I'm sure he'd rather let the contract.
(PS3S1) [25] Page seventy three
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [26] Yes, the county secretary seems to harbour these wishes to become the
(PS3S1) [27] No, no, that's not fair.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [28] Well you might have thought it was nice
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [...]
(PS3S1) [29] Okay, is that recommendation agreed?
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [30] Agreed
(PS3S1) [31] Agreed, thank you.
[32] Item seventeen erm the urban grass cutting contract.
[33] Now this is a very interesting one because we are always under great pressure to increase the number of cuts etcetera.
[34] Have you gotta change this one as well?
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [35] Yes
(PS3S1) [36] Er
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [37] It's not my fault though, this one.
(PS3S1) [38] Right, shall we let the county secretary tell us what she wants to change.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [39] I'm not the county secretary [...]
(PS3S1) [40] Sorry about that but it's just [...] you're representing him
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [41] Yes, I do represent him.
[42] Erm, Mr explained the reason for changing this but basically it's to, to swap us again and that it will read that for one, that for ninety four to ninety eight the standard of grass cutting be seven occasions per year and the county surveyor in consultation with the Chairman be authorized to accept tenders from suitable contractors and the contracts be let to commence on the first of March nineteen ninety four.
[43] And secondly, I think the second one is exactly the same as it stands Madam Chairman.
(PS3S1) [44] Right, thank you very much Mrs .
[45] Right, I've got Mr
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [...]
(PS3S1) [46] No, oh, I've got
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [...]
(PS3S1) [47] Oh sorry, er I've got Mr and then Mrs .
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [48] Thank you Madam Chairman.
[49] I never thought today I would sit here and criticize very severely [...]
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [50] er, grass cutting in Borough Council, and I see their contract is up for renewal next year, is about the most disgusting grass cutting you could ever wish to see.
[51] I think I talk for the whole of when I say this, erm, the disgusting way that Borough Council are doing grass cutting.
[52] There is part of that grass cutting probably due to the fact that our pavements are also covered in grass, some of them as much as two foot on either side, and you've got two foot down the middle, going like that, where the grass is growing and has not been cut back since nineteen seventy four.
[53] Er, now the county really ought to look at this problem of grass growing over the pavement but the Cou Borough Council are using the shields that are not capable of cutting grass edges, grass verges.
[54] Th you drive along a massive machine, probably doing more damage getting up and down the kerbs a and everything else.
[55] They are going along at vast speeds, and I say vast speeds, they're twenty miles an hour over the grass and you can imagine how much they're cutting.
[56] The also the big rotary blades on 'em are throwing all the grass over the pavement and all over the road and eventually finishes up all down the drains.
[57] I would [...] to our officers they should not grant another contract to Borough Council until they start to use the correct machines for doing the work and I hope that that message now has got across to the cou county surveyor and he really ought to be talking to Borough Council to find out what they're doing about it.
(PS3S1) [58] Right, thank you Mr .
[59] Mrs followed by Mr
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [60] Erm, thank you Chairman.
[61] Well erm I entirely agree with most of what Mr has said.
[62] It is absolutely appalling.
[63] The whole trouble, I think, started when the districts were formed in nineteen seventy three, I think [...] District Council to seventy seven, but it's always been a problem.
[64] Erm, first the district did it and erm they didn't want it so then it was decided to have, to share it with county and that was a disaster too and they did so many cuts each a year and then county took it over.
[65] It's never got any better.
[66] Erm, the only time it was really good in my area was when Urban District Council did it with a little chap pushing a barrow and cutting the grass and it all looked absolutely beautiful.
[67] I know it's difficult now because population has increased, grass verges have increased.
[68] Erm, they go round with these machines, the grass flies everywhere, they never do the edges.
[69] Several contractors have had it and it's never been right and eventually a few days or weeks later a man comes round to pick up the grass which has already flown everywhere so it's too late and a wa total waste of money.
[70] Erm, there obviously isn't enough supervision by the contractors of the people they employ.
[71] It's certainly absolutely dreadful and erm people complain when they come down and say, whatever's happened to , it used to be such an attractive place, but obviously when the grass is knee high it doesn't look very nice for anyone to see.
[72] I think we've really got to do something about it and hold a proper supervisory [...] and see what's going to go on this year because it's, it gets worse.
[73] I personally would like to see the parishes of the towns doing it themselves, I don't suppose that is possible now, but at least let's have somebody reliable and supervised.
(PS3S1) [74] Thank you Mrs .
[75] I've got Mr followed by Mr .
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [76] Yes, thank you Madam Chairman.
[77] Very briefly, I would've preferred to have seen a contract based on the end performance with the grass being cut to a structured length.
[78] We always seem to get the wrong sort of weather in
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [79] [...] three different sorts of machines.
[80] The playing fields are cut very well, no doubt about that.
[81] It's the verges that're either not cut at all or they're cut with one of two machines, the primo is [...] little bits and the machines that so aptly described.
[82] They don't come round at the same time so you're always out of phase and it always looks untidy.
[83] The only grass that's well cut is where people cut it themselves outside their own house but, in particular, erm,th I would like to see the supervision of the contract and that we don't cough up the money unless the job's done properly because I think we're paying for a job that's not being either done at all , or when it is being done it's not being done well.
[84] It's the quality of service we're getting is ab abominable in that area.
(PS3S1) [85] Thank you Mr .
[86] This is of course why we, we are proposing the trial in which would er give us an end performance grass cutting contract but we don't want to do that right across the county because of the projected cost, until we know whether it would work.
[87] Erm, I've got Mr followed by Mr .
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [88] Thank you Chairman.
[89] To some extent, to a larger extent, I agree with what says.
[90] The grass cutting we get is appalling.
[91] Erm, unfortunately erm, when you let a contract out, you've got certain criteria [...] and a contractor will only do what's specified on their contract.
[92] Unfortunately, whether the contract drawn up in the first place has been a correct one or not, I'm not sure.
[93] I do know that Council do pay for two extra cuts over and above what the Cou County Council have paid for.
[94] But the question of machinery is a very important issue.
[95] The person [...] between the Parks Department and the erm this contract in , they are two separate departments and there's no doubt about it, the Parks Department do a very good job.
[96] Why the people who cut the actual grass that people walk on erm I don't know, why they don't do that job properly.
[97] We have asked questions about clearing the grass up afterwards and we're told that would probably be two or three times the amount in the contract and in the actual, at the end of the day you get what you're paid for, you get what you pay for, and if you don't provide the resources or you can't provide the resources, I should say, then obviously you've gotta make do with second best.
[98] Whether we could look at our contract and see if this could be [...] because mentioned about grass on the pavements, not only is it the machine that's doing that, but there's a danger to young children from the machines they're using and elderly people with pavements being very very slippery once they're doing the grass if it's raining.
[99] Apart from that [...] treading in people's houses.
(PS3S1) [100] Thank you Mr , Mr .
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [101] Well thank you Madam Chairman.
[102] There's been a lot of hot air generated over many years about grass cutting standards but it's not an idle thought when I say if anybody wants to see where the best grass cutting takes place then they should visit .
[103] Erm, I've gotta say that I think the year was nineteen hundred and seventy six when it was the County Council's responsibility for cutting the verges, not the district.
[104] County arbitrarily said, we're not doing it any more, that's to save money and the thing fell upon the district councils.
[105] Now, even in it took us some, some time to get the situation under control but we did eventually get it under control but, as I say, not without a lot of misgivings and very very strong complaints from the public at large.
[106] Now, but in many areas of the county work was put out to contractors.
[107] Finally the th county picked up its responsibility again but the damage had been done and er grass cutting never seems to have recovered in some areas on the [...] that I'll just try to describe in a few words.
[108] Erm, I welcomed Chairman the present experiment before us, I hope it succeeds, I hope it sets a continuing example to other parts of the county but you only get what you pay for and in, in we top it up from the seven cuts to I think thirteen or fourteen.
[109] But there always remains still one point of complaint by some members of the public, that is that the grass that's cut does tend to blow about, but if the cutting is frequent, there's less grass t to blow about at a given time.
[110] But if you want the grass swept up as well then I tell you here and now, you're getting into cost that's greater than that of cutting the grass.
(PS3S1) [111] Thank you Mr .
[112] I've got Mr and Mr and then I'm drawing a line.
[113] Mr .
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [114] Well, Department of Transport erm say that five cuts per year is enough and, and er we, we do seven cuts which is a little bit better than that.
[115] I wouldn't disagree with Mr in what he said about the more cuts we have the better it looks and so it stands to reason it's a question of cost.
[116] But I think that he would probably agree, and I know he's made comments at various times on this subject, about er the grass that is left behind and it is always a problem I think throughout the county erm where grass is cut and then spread around.
[117] I think a lot of people who suffer from asthma type diseases here do suffer quite severely erm because of this and I think that at some point we're probably going to have to, to look at it and try and devise a system which, which allows us to pick up the grass.
[118] Erm, I think probably I would support the recommendation as it stands because I do think that we need to have a trial to see if the end performance, and I very very much support the idea of the end performance, er in district.
[119] I think we should carry that out and see, see what the results are before we go county- wide.
(PS3S1) [120] Thank you Mr .
[121] Mr .
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [122] Thank you Madam Chairman.
[123] Very quickly I, I think the sentiments expressed I, I agree with.
[124] Erm, [...] a bit on the recommendations one they're seeking approval er that erm the er tenders from are left from March nineteen ninety four to March nineteen ninety eight which seems to me to be quite a long time to let that go if we're all a little bit concerned about what's going on.
[125] Erm, I think the scheme [...] is, is quite right but are we not in, in [...] too much [...] changes to the specification.
[126] That's what it's all about, I'd like perhaps to see whether we can tie that up a bit.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [...]
(PS3S1) [127] Thank you Mr .
[128] I will ask the county surveyor to answer all those points in order.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [129] Yeah.
[130] Perhaps the last point first just to get that one out the way.
[131] Er, yes, it's a requirement for the actual length of the contract on us in the first place but the second point is that, in the tender documents, we've actually asked all the contractors to price all the different permutations, whether it's seven cuts, eleven cuts, hundred millimetres or a hundred and fifty millimetres.
[132] So, having appointed a contractor, it would be possible to alter the specification with the prices already tendered for, alright?
[133] So we, we have a certain amount of flexibility in there.
[134] Just to make some general points.
[135] Yes, I mean it's quite clear grass cutting is one of those issues which has been very vexatious over the years and I'm sure it will continue to be so.
[136] It will, because er in part, under compulsory competitive tendering, the pricing is driven down to rock bottom and below.
[137] We pay something like one penny per square metre to cut grass and, as someone has already said, to an extent you get what you pay for.
[138] The cost of a if w if the specification included collecting the grass, you multiply the cost by a factor of seven.
[139] Now, performance specifications are all very well, and we're gonna try one here and see how it works out.
[140] You don't necessarily get a better job with a performance spec than you would simply by specifying that you had more cuts because in er in a slow growing year, if you like, the contractor actually gains because he doesn't need to cut so many times to comply with a maximum of a hundred millimetres length, whereas if you've got an eleven level cut you would actually have a continuous length of grass, much shorter, so it would look smarter.
[141] So performance specification isn't necessarily better, it depends on the weather again.
[142] We all know what can happen with the weather.
[143] Erm, the other thing I'd like to draw your attention to is para six point one, just a little tabulation there, because what they're saying is that on the number of cuts per specification, that's what exists now, er three hundred and twenty eight thousand, that's about the same as this year, er if you go to the hundred millimetre cut, which is what we're suggesting we do on a trial basis, the cost to the County Council will amount to another hundred and fifty thousand pounds a year.
[144] So, it's not chickenfeed when you start to er, or maybe it would be chickenfeed
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [laugh]
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [145] so, so it's a lot of, sorry about that, [...] er it's, it's a substantial sum of money and obviously we want to look at how the one works.
[146] Incidentally, it will cost us about an extra eight thousand pounds just to do the trial in .
[147] Comment on the position there, only in so far as the extent of the existing contract which is not due to expire until first of January nineteen ninety five, and we're not proposing to ask to terminate that.
[148] It is their own direct labour organization that run it.
[149] But there will be cost involved, I think about eighteen thousand, over the course of that year, in sustaining that contract rather than replacing it with a new tender.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [150] Can [...] on that Madam Chairman?
[151] Are you saying you're quite prepared to let them, how they cut it, you'll let it go on for another two years without you doing anything about it?
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [152] Not another two years, I think that was the first of January ninety five, it's actually one year, and it's not a question of doing nothing about it.
[153] We are er overseeing them, as we do with other contractors, but it is, it is the district and it's their own contractor and we hope that they will improve their performance.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [...]
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [154] We can terminate it if, if, we can terminate it at the point the other contractor if it, if things really are bad this year.
(PS3S1) [155] Right.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [156] Has the additional cost has gone up from six thousand to eight thousand more, or is it still six thousand?
[157] You mentioned eight thousand [...]
(PS3S1) [158] That was for [...]
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [159] Quoted six thousand
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [160] Sorry, beg your pardon, slip of the tongue, it's six thousand.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [...]
(PS3S1) [161] Thank you very much.
[162] Er, can I, can I have your agreement for the recommendation then?
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [163] Agreed.
(PS3S1) [164] Thank you.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [...]
(PS3S1) [165] Yes of course.
[166] Erm right now item eighteen, the report of delegated action.
[167] Erm, can I ask you to note those points?
[168] Agreed?
[169] Oh, hang on.
[170] A point.
[171] Mis Mr
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [172] Madam Chairman if I may just make a comment of concern that information was not, on this point was not forthcoming to the county councillors of that area perhaps to make er give them an opportunity to make comment prior to to you so you could make this delegated action.
[173] As you know doubt are aware of the importance that it is to us in that area of the and the current enquiry that's going on at the moment.
(PS3S1) [174] Right, erm, did we not have a fair amount of discussion about this at the time, before
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [175] Not that I can remember at all.
(PS3S1) [176] Got a copy of it?
[177] I haven't got it with me.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [178] No, that's the actual paper but I [...]
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [179] No, it comes to us to pass on to you and we passed it to you
(PS3S1) [180] No, that's not the right one
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [181] No, I mean, who?
[182] Should she?
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [183] Note the point
(PS3S1) [184] Yeah, okay, we note your concern and we'll, we'll try to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [185] Can I make the same point as well please?
(PS3S1) [186] You want to make the same point?
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [187] Yes.
(PS3S1) [188] Yeah, alright, okay, thank you.
[189] Right, okay, fair enough, I, I accept that point and I will ensure that we
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [190] Yes, sorry, just to interrupt for a moment Chairman.
[191] Of course, the actual initiative to this does come from the district so the primary source of information at consultation should actually be through them before we get asked to approve it.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [192] As a county councillor, rather than a borough councillor [...] on the way
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [193] Perhaps it does
(PS3S1) [194] Thank you
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [195] Can we make a proviso that the delegated action on that A item is in consultation with the local members concerned and I think that will take care of the point.
(PS3S1) [196] Right, well, it's already happened so we, we can't
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [...]
(PS3S1) [197] I, I think we can we can look at what we can do about it in the future and whether it is practical to erm consult local members where possible.
[198] I think that's, that's all we can do at the moment and I take your point Mr , thank you.
[199] Anything else there?
[200] Right well thank you very much for your brevity and we will be able to send out team of experts out to deal with floods after lunch.
Unknown speaker (J45PSUNK) [...]
(PS3S1) [201] Sorry, there is no part two because the report will be, has been delegated.
[202] Thank you very much.