According to the Shrewsbury Chronicle, Shropshire County Council has left a £310,000 sensory bus for people with learning difficulties idle for no less than three years due to interdepartmental bumbling.
The bus went out of service back in 2006 when the council’s only HGV driver went on long term sick leave but even when he left, the council failed to replace him. Instead this incredibly costly vehicle was garaged, the project halted, and the thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money that had been invested was presumably forgotten about.
But if enraged Shropshire residents want someone to blame for this disastrous situation, they will only find themselves more confused, as two departments – the adult learning department and the passenger transport service – can’t even determine just who’s responsible for protracting this wasteful shambles.
One councillor, Alan Moseley, expressed his anger at this dreadful mismanagement:
“The vehicle has been off the road for all this time and it seems to be because of internal difficulties that this has proved impossible to resolve – it’s a bureaucratic nightmare.
“I’m disgusted with it and I will be demanding that a report come to the next meeting of the economy and environment scrutiny panel. It’s a disgrace.”
So, not for the first time, we have an example of a local authority so utterly bogged down in bureaucracy that they waste time, money and resources, all to the detriment of the community they serve.
There’s little doubt that this vehicle was commissioned with the best intentions - to help people in Shropshire with learning difficulties - and paid for in good faith with public funds but now, due to council inefficiency and confusion, both parties have lost out and due to the lack of any clarity there doesn’t even appear to be anyone to blame.