Thursday, 19 February 2009

So. Mr Crawley's letter...

First, the refund. I notice he pointedly fails to mention Ms Parris yet again. (In four letters, he hasn't once mentioned her name). The implication has to be that he hasn't actually asked her about the roof ridge repointing (as I helpfully suggested). Unbelievable and utterly inexplicable. Why wouldn't he ask her? Ms Parris still works there and although this entire business concerns her actions, Mr Crawley has apparently decided not to discuss it with her. The whole thing is getting really quite bizarre. 

I'm going to ask him to provide statements from Ms Parris and the council technician (who I presume they can locate by the novel method of asking Ms Parris). If he fails to provide the statements, then that's evidence of a sort. Fortunately, small claims don't require the kind of proof required in the higher courts, the 'beyond all reasonable doubt' stuff.

I suppose there's a chance - in the unlikely event that Ms Parris does provide a statement - that Ms Parris might lie, though again this seems improbable as firstly, there's no motive, and secondly, they'd need to get the technician to lie too. It's hard to imagine them all conspiring to this extent, and potentially putting their jobs at risk if the fraud were to be exposed, all for £125 of council money.

I suppose I could also call Ms Parris as a witness. Though I'm sure she can't be compelled to attend, if she doesn't then that's another point in my favour. I need to find out the name of the council technician who came with her on the site visit.

As for the leak. I made this face 0_0 when I read the bit about excavating the area. WTF?! I've no idea why Newpoint think there's more than one leak. All that's there to be seen is a section of the water pipes (the valves are accessed via a very small cupboard door) and the damp walls on either side. As it's three years since the leak was noticed and reported, this is ample time for the damp to have spread. My point is, I can't see what possible evidence there is to suggest something other than a single long-term unrepaired leak. And in what way is repairing a leak a job of an "unusual nature".

Again, we seem to be slipping into a parallel council-funded universe in which common sense and logic has no bearing.

Lastly, landlord's consent. I can't believe he repeated his sodding bulleted list again. That's the fourth time now. Although a faint glimmer of flexibility and reasonableness creeps into the paragraph about the Deed of Variation in Mr Crawley's use of the word "may" - probably unwittingly - I'm totally unconvinced. "Keen to address"...yeah, right. And I don't call three years ago "recently". The time has come to go to the Chief Executive. I've been putting it off, partly because it's hard to know where on earth to begin. 

The other thing that bugs me is there is no need whatsoever, nor any legal basis, for any of the documentation requested. It's completely pointless, especially when the works were supervized and approved by the Freeholder's own Building Control service. They're acting like I built a mega Tesco in the back garden instead of just putting in a small roof terrace and a new kitchen.

I think after I get confirmation from Wandsworth that they're disputing my claim, I may contact the local paper.


  1. Monseñor Roberto Diego Papalina Campesino del Campo19 February 2009 at 16:22

    This Crawley individual is a bloody fool. You can quote me on that. Definitely contact the press.

  2. What a waste of time and money. Why on earth are they spending our money on digging holes when it sounds like a very straight forward issue. The service we get from our local council is a disgrace, and I really think you should forward your blog to the local paper.

  3. OMG! This is so ridiculous.
    Have you thought about going to Watchdog?

  4. The catalogue of tail-chasing and blind incompetance by the council on both these issues is, to me, a damning indictment of the way councils are run generally. Am I mistaken or did Wandsworth at one point take great pride in having the lowest council tax of any borough in London? I do wonder now whether there is an exponential link to the service offered to householders!
    What staggers me is that the the line of least resistance, ie, for Mr Crawley to contact Ms Parris, has been consistently overlooked in favour of a mind-bogglingly complex to and froing of letters which bear no reference to the problems you are trying to address.
    Interesting that a more cooperative tone has now crept into Mr Crawley's communications and I do wonder if he has now realised that you are serious in your endeavours to take this matter to the small claims court and the press.
    I wholeheartedly support your decision to whistle blow this idiot into some semblance of life and to make an example of the council in general. Disgraceful.

  5. Councils seem unable to deal with the simplest issue without turning it into an epic drama, mainly due to their absolute inflexibility and refusal to see reason. You can argue till you’re blue in the face. Hence, second time taking a council to court. You can be sure they won’t budge right up to the moment the judge awards me the money.

    I suppose, given my experiences with other councils, I should have known better than to buy a flat with the council as the Freeholder but I thought Wandsworth were meant to have a good reputation. The council tax is still low, at least.

    Mr Crawley's failure to involve or even mention Ms Parris is clearly deliberate, but I can't even speculate as to what the reason may be, except some kind of arse covering.


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