Oxford High Street Reclutter

The BBC News web site carried an item yesterday about the most recent rash of road works in the High Street. This will disrupt traffic for another ten weeks.

The last phase, it says, was completed in November and involved removing “unnecessary” clutter. It really is very good to know that Oxfordshire Highways have at last realised that most of the metalwork they have put up over the years is just expensive clutter, even if it did take the condemnation of English Heritage to bring it home to them. A new dawn perhaps.

Perhaps. Having got rid of all that clutter “to preserve the street’s historic feel”, what works are they doing to enhance our newly cleared street? New lights and bollards apparently.

It is like an itch isn’t it, this overwhelming need to stick bits of metal all over the street? It helps boost their expenditure – this “my budget is bigger than your budget” posturing is the only way one councillor can assert his status over another.

It gives the officers the feeling that they have done something tangible for minimal thought – “Guess what, darling, I spent £40,000 on signs and bollards today – my work will be immortalised in every tourist’s photo album”.

It doesn’t do much for traffic. And it sure as hell does nothing to enhance the High Street. How can we make these people think?


About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
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