I spotted this on Cobham High Street the other day. It seems so friendly and innocuous, doesn’t it? “I’m sorry we’re about to dig up the roads again”, it is saying, “but don’t worry, dear friends because at the end of the day you are going to get a top of the range modern gas main that will make all your lives warm and lovely.”
Except of course that isn’t the reason the roads are being dug up. If you ring the number you will find you are connected to the Scotia Gas Networks company, where a recorded message directs you to their web site, here: http://www.sgn.co.uk/index.aspx?rightColHeader=9&rightColContent=15&rightColFooter=237&id=6251&TierSlicer1_TSMenuTargetID=70&TierSlicer1_TSMenuTargetType=1&TierSlicer1_TSMenuID=6
Had SGN decided to be entirely honest and straightforward, this is what the notice would have said.
“Dear Cobhamites. We are going to dig up the road because we want to make sure there is a proper gas supply to the new M25 service station, where all the shops and hotels will be spending lots of money on our gas. Ker-ching. Yes we could probably have done this work during the school summer holidays when there is less traffic on the roads, but doing it now makes the best commercial sense to us. So you just sit there in long queues of traffic as you try to get your kids to school, or walk past breathing in the fumes. Because we could not care less. And no, we didn’t bother to consult with your councillors, MP, or local community groups before planning this work, because we don’t have to. And time is money, right? All we need to do is tell some Surrey County Council pen-pusher what we’re planning on doing. He probably can’t find Cobham on a map, let alone know what it’s like to live here with main roads being disrupted. And even if by chance said bureaucrat had any points to make we don’t have to pay any attention if we don’t want to.”
“Oh, and while we’re on the subject, the sparks and the drains people will be digging roads up round here on and off from now till June. All this for a service station that hardly anyone in the area wants. Enjoy.”