5 October 2008

Be careful where you step .........

The matter of the 'Tin Dunny', otherwise known as Somerton's new Community Hall still manages to amuse me and another couple of aspects of its location have now caught my attention.

Some months ago I was waiting to get into the Amenity site at Bancombe and the gates were closed whilst the guys moved containers around. Whilst I was sitting in my car, listening to the radio, I noticed the pavements, or lack of them, beyond the entrance to the dump. It occurred to me that, were the roadways on the Bancombe Estate adopted by SSDC or SCC, then pavements like that would have been properly made up prior to adoption. This led me to wonder whether or not the Bancombe road network was in fact adopted public highway or if it was maintained by some other body, company or individual.

I made a few calls to SCC and finally found my way to their highways records department where the very helpful staffer informed me that only a part of the road network at Bancombe was, in fact, adopted Public Highway. They went on to offer to send me a copy of the drawing that showed the extent of the adoption and a small thumbnail of that plan is shown here. This shows that the Estate roads at Bancombe are adopted only as far as the third turning head from Bancombe Road.

"Why does this matter?", I hear you asking and I'll tell you why. Somerton's Town Council have, in their infinite wisdom, bought the 'Tin Dunny' which is located at the furthest end of the Bancombe Trading Estate and this is, in effect, an invitation by Somerton Town Council for members of the community to travel to the 'Tin Dunny' across the roads that serve it. Now, if you have an accident on the public highway before the third turning head shown on the map, then SSDC or SCC are liable if you can prove that the pavements, the kerb, the roadway or the street lighting contributed to the accident. However, have the same accident beyond the third turning head and you need to find out who is actually responsible for the roadway, kerbs, pavements or lighting. And that might be quite difficult because people who own such roadways don't like to make themselves too visible in order to avoid such liabilities.

Its also worth considering that, as we can be certain that Somerton's Town Council did their 'due diligence' before enacting the purchase of the 'Tin Dunny', they could be seen as being liable as they are causing the community to cross such roadways and pavements.

On another and very much connected matter and, again when I was going to the amenity site, I saw the manner in which the junction, immediately beyond the end of the adopted highway, floods in heavy rain. The photo below shows a van swimming through the flood a couple of months back. Now, when a Local Authority adopts roadways as Public Highway, they like to be certain that matters like drainage have been dealt with so that they (and their ratepayers) will only be responsible for maintenance. A flood such as that shown here, suggests that the drains may not be up to standard and that means a big bill for anyone who might have a service charge liability at the Bancombe Trading Estate (step forward the owners of the 'Tin Dunny').

And one final thought to leave you with. When I was doing physics at school, we were shown how to work out the centre of gravity of an irregular flat object. What you do is punch two or three holes at different points around the perimeter of the object and then you suspend the object from these points, one at a time. When the object is suspended, you draw a vertical line down from the suspension point. You do this two or three or four times and where these lines intersect, that is the centre of gravity of the object.

Earlier today I brought Somerton up on GoogleMaps and copied the outline of the built-up area of Somerton onto a piece of card. I then went through the process which I have described above and my intention was to find out where, in geographical terms, the centre of Somerton is located. Its an imperfect method but can be used to give some sort of rough indication and I wasn't surprised to learn the the centre of gravity isn't at Badgers Cross or at Unit 8, Cary Court. In fact, and here's a surprise, the rough centre of Somerton is located a little to the west of the bend in King Ina Road where the road turns northward. And that point isn't all that far, maybe a 100 yards, from the land at Etsome Terrace - the land that was intended for the Community Hall. Oh, and before I forget, all the roads that serve the land at Etsome Terrace are Public Highways, maintained by the Local Authority to Local Authority standards.

Till next time.