Not surprised at Strand cost..

All we read are cuts, cuts, cuts. This four letter word seems to daily blight our lives and makes us all wonder why we are working to pay the hefty council tax, paying for what we are not receiving in return.

All we read are cuts, cuts, cuts. This four letter word seems to daily blight our lives and makes us all wonder why we are working to pay the hefty council tax, paying for what we are not receiving in return.

We all know we are being 'milked' to provide hefty, golden handshakes and fat pensions for the army of civil servants and white collar council workers that this government once pledged to reduce. There seems to be an army of canary yellow jackets enjoying the spring sunshine in Exmouth (Editor - for The Strand redevelopment).

Two appeared on Monday last week, bringing with them a large lorry towing a compressor. They erected safety fencing and signs, and started to dig a small hole next to the traffic lights on The Strand.

The erection of one pole took most of the working day and then a small sign was secured to advise us that work was to commence on March 9.

Nothing wrong with that, you might say, except there are already two adequate poles six inches away, to which the new sign could have quite easily been attached, therefore saving all this unnecessary work and expense.

Wednesday last week brought another Devon county official-looking person, fitted out with her canary jacket and clipboard.

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I enquired if I could be of assistance. She replied she was "marking the loose paving slabs, those needing attention". I told her they had been wobbly since contractors laid a new power cable 12 months ago.

I had complained to the county council on numerous occasions about the state of disrepair, but had been informed the slabs had to "stick up 22mm before they were considered a hazard".

I also asked her what was the point of wasting time and money marking these wobbly paving slabs when they were all about to be ripped up under the new town revamp.

She looked at me astonished and seemed totally unaware that any major revamp was on the agenda.

It was interesting to note, while I was having this conversation, seven other council workers were in the Strand Gardens, basking in the sunshine, enjoying their fags, having a bit of a chat. I went and did some shopping and, when I returned, two hours later, it appeared they were still in the same place, doing the same thing. No wonder this job is going to cost �3 million and take 36 weeks.

A concerned council tax payer,

(name and address withheld).

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