Clunks, broken windows, happiness and guilt 

manhole cover, Central Road, Worcester Park
Manhole cover, Central Road, Worcester Park

For many months, some say a year, those living and working near the junction of Central Road and St Philips Avenue heard the regular ‘clunk’ as vehicles passed over a faulty and sinking manhole cover.

I live within earshot and have woken and gone to sleep each day to the sound of the ‘clunk’. In fact, as vehicles have front and rear wheels it was more of a ‘clunk’, ‘clunk’ as each vehicle rolled over.

Over time things like this become part of life and you don’t always notice them. It is a familiar concept and those of you who have ever been on a management, or maybe customer service course may have heard it referred to by the name ‘broken windows’, a general term used to refer to things that are wrong but no longer noticed.

In these situations it is always good when someone new arrives with a fresh pair of eyes, or in this case ears, and notices the problem.

And so it was, someone new moved in and alerted their new councillor to the annoying ‘clunk’ which was driving him and his partner mad.

Sutton Council soon advised me the troublesome manhole cover was the property of Thames Water and added they had already been trying for months to get it fixed, without success.

It was therefore with great relief that after many weeks the emails I added finally did their job and a three way contra flow and a hole appeared in Central Road. I had mixed feelings as I new the ‘clunk’ would be silenced but at the same time I felt a little guilty as I walked along Central Road looking at the motorists and bus passengers trapped in the queue.

Apologies to those caught up in the traffic jam around the temporary traffic lights but your sacrifice has made a lot of people happy as the clunk is no more and the risk of more serious problems has gone with it.  Thanks to Sutton Council’s Highways/Streetworks staff for their help and to Thames Water for fitting the work in between the morning and evening rush to minimise disruption.