Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ghost town

The floods that hit Cockermouth just over a month ago may just be a long-forgotten news item for most people but they are still very much in the minds of people here. Through the energy and initiative of private enterprise, the resourcefulness of the local community - and no help at all from the local council - several local Cockermouth businesses have re-opened in temporary premises in a higher part of the town near the main supermarkets. Life goes on as best it can. But our quaint Georgian main street is like a ghost town. Here are some pictures from Cockermouth as it is today.

The footbridge over the river is down

Main Street is still closed to traffic

Most of the Main Street shops are still boarded up awaiting repair

Skips still line the street

Wordsworth House, the birthplace of England's greatest poet and the twon's main tourist attraction, was damaged by the floods

Many other bridges and structures are seriously damaged

Trust private enterprise to take the initiative - this travel agency was open for business in new premises the day after the flood

Message on a "tree of hope" in Market Place

Meanwhile the local authority has been reported in the local press as:
  • Objecting to the construction of an emergency Tesco supermarket on the north side of the river in Workington to help local people who have a 25 mile detour to reach existing supermarkets on the south side, because planning procedures had not been followed.
  • Delaying the construction of new road bridges by insisting that bureaucratic procurement procedures be followed, despite the fact that construction companies could build a new bridge "in weeks."
  • Penny-pinching over the cost of extra school buses needed to take schoolchildren isolated on the north of the river to their schools in the south.
  • Re-painting the yellow lines to show parking restrictions on the still closed to traffic Cockermouth streets.
The county council recently appointed a new chief executive, a former social worker, on a salary of £170,000 a year. Perhaps what is needed is a council run by people with business experience to help get the county back on its feet.
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