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Praise where it’s due

March 15, 2010

The Council’s rules mean that Councillors can not publicly criticise individual Council officers. But there’s a loophole. It’s OK to praise people doing great work. This month, we nominate a guy called Chris Demetriou who is the Street Environment Manager covering the four West Area wards (Cally, Holloway, Barnsbury and St Mary’s). He spends a lot of time on our ward. Whenever we ask him to sort out something he gets it done very quickly.

But one marathon problem took him (and us) about two years to fix. And we were reminded of it last week.

The dump site in 2006. Note the rosette that Rupert is wearing ... we were not Councillors then. It was neglect like this that prompted us to stand for election.

Four years ago, we promised to remove a terrible eyesore that was just under the “Ferodo” Bridge on Caledonian Road. Right next to the bus stop and the entrance into Kings Court, it was a small patch of land that used to fill-up with tipped rubbish. Everything got dumped there – from black bin bags to fridges and other items of lumber. There had once been a chain-link fence cordoning it off but this was pushed over long ago.

No-one really knew who owned this tiny bit of land – although most people reckoned it must be Network Rail. So we asked Chris Demetriou to investigate and get them to sort it out. It all became rather complicated. Not surprisingly, Network Rail were not terribly bothered; and it also turned out there were some shallow-buried BT cables. Chris got the Borough’s Highways Team on the case and, during the long hiatus getting things sorted, Chris made sure the Borough’s cleansing service regularly cleared the site of garbage.

The brick wall that Network Rail built ... eventually. Please don't mention that Rupert seems to be wearing the same leather jacket!

Rupert and Paul wrote repeatedly to Network Rail urging them to acknowledge their ownership and responsibility for the land. Then in December 2007, we got a breakthrough. The BT cables were moved – we had actually persuaded them it was risky having wires so near the surface. Network Rail sent a gang of bricklayers who put up a fine new wall – in just one day. Then, Chris Demetriou got the Borough’s Highways team to paint an anti-graffiti coating onto the brick surface. It’s looked pretty good ever since.

The Kings Cross Environment website blogged the history of this location regularly from 2006 onwards.

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