Simple task made difficult

First published in Letters

I RECENTLY spent several hours working unpaid for Wiltshire Council, where everybody matters. This was to complete an application form for a resident’s parking permit.

The form itself is relatively easy to complete, and carries the advice “please complete this form if you are a resident of Salisbury wishing to apply for or renew a parking permit”.

For the avoidance of doubt, I did not wish to apply for a parking permit – I was forced to do so by Wiltshire Council who have appropriated the street where I have lived and parked free of charge for over 25 years and now rent it back to me for £20 a year.

Most of the time was spent finding the relevant accompanying documentation. Proof of residency: since I pay council tax I thought the council would already have this, although I accept that this may have involved talking to someone in the next office. DVLA V5 log book: why? The registration number should be sufficient as I am hardly likely to apply for a permit to park a car that I do not own.

I fully understand that Wiltshire Council, based in Trowbridge, and devoted to financing the whole county by bleeding Salisbury dry, would rather spend money justifying its own existence by creating unnecessary jobs than on mending potholes, but regret the passing of the days when councils were services rather than authorities, and dedicated to service rather than enforcement.

Kenneth McNally, Salisbury

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