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A LODA Comedy

I wanted to share my and, I hope, other Clays Lane residents' appreciation of LODA's extraordinary sense of humour and the wonderful jokes they are playing on us. I have to say I never credited LODA with such a marvellous imagination. I can only wonder at what they will come up with next. It is always good to share a joke and a humorous story.

First, I must congratulate them on their timing. Simply amazing. It's now three weeks since I first asked for evidence of their permission, notification or whatever for the asbestos work at Park Village. Well I haven't had a reply! Great timing! I mean all good comedy relies on good timing and this is of the highest quality!

Second, their example has inspired the HSE. I rang them on Wednesday, a week ago, but they were on strike. Great bathos. I rang again on Friday and they said they would get back to me after making enquiries. Not a word since. Marvellous stuff. Has LODA co-ordinated their act with them?

Third, LODA started demolishing the housing at Park Village last Wednesday and put on a great light and dust show! One end of the street was completely shrouded in a cloud of dust. I was so impressed I decided to ring Newham Environmental Health to get them in on the act. They paid a visit to the site on Thursday. They decided the comic action would be improved if they didn't visit me or call me back afterwards and I have to say I agree with that. It definitely made for a better joke!

I rang them on Friday and was told the contractors on the site had said they were just removing the concrete floors and that this work had now ended. Another company would be coming in to start the demolition later on as they were now finishing off ripping out the interiors. A ripping good yarn as I think anyone would agree.

Environmental Health thought this was a very convincing tale and regarded the aberration on Wednesday as a one off. Somehow LODA and its contractors had found a way of removing the concrete floors without pulling down the houses! They should patent, copyright it or whatever you do with such innovations. They had good punch lines as well. The Environmental Health worker said he thought companies wouldn't behave badly as they would be concerned about their workers! I mean I have to applaud such dead pan pronouncements. He pulled it off because he really made me believe he believed what he was saying and that is comic talent at its best. And then he said the ODA had procedures in place to make sure things were done properly!

I went outside and found half the houses on one side of the street had disappeared! Masterful!

The Environmental Health officer told me he was preparing a report which I thought was an excellent closing for the day. I mean is that self-parody or what!

Fourth, on Monday I woke up to find myself coughing in my bedroom. I rang Environmental Health but neither of the staff I had previously spoken to were available. I spoke to someone else. The report had not been prepared.

Tuesday, I rang again to report a new light and dust show. The original staff were still not available. No-one rang back. Comedy, good comedy, always needs that element of suspense, frustration. It makes the schadenfreude so much more enjoyable.

Wednesday (today), a photographer went out to take some photos of the continuing demolition, which according to the contractors shouldn't be happening yet. When the workers saw him they got out a hose to spray the work area! Now that's what I call progress. LODA is developing a satirical edge!

A few other side splitting developments as well.

Stratford City contractors are also digging up a lot of soil. We had a marvellous exchange with Skanska and Newham Environmental Health over Skanska's desert sandstorm show when they were creating their enormous sandpit.

LODA has got down to some serious digging on Eastway. We understand LODA is satisfied there is no radioactive material there apart from the place where there is some! They say this because their geiger counter readings don't produce a result. But then again we are told thorium doesn't produce readings so geiger counters wouldn't produce a result would they? Does that make sense? And there is evidence of at least two factories using thorium at Marshgate Lane when the tip we live on and next to us was being prepared (for our later arrival). One of these was bombed and our (I'm beginning to feel a touch proprietorial) tip received bomb damage material from all over this area. There was also a research reactor at Queen Mary's College and possibly another at PNEL now UEL and who knows what else. So plenty of room for comic mayhem there.

We had an enjoyable time during the drilling on our site watching the workers using geiger counters which, of course, would not have produced any result as thorium doesn't emit the right kind of rays. To adapt a well known slogan 'It's the dust stupid!'. Drilling and digging produces dust and that's what produces the danger. Anyway the contractors got annoyed with me taking photos of the drilling and insisted on putting a fence around themselves and their equipment. Talk about fencing yourself in. They were in more danger than I was as the drill was bringing up soil and gravel in front of them. Sometimes comedy has a bitter taste.

Finally, for the moment, I received notification of the new planning application on Monday so I rang up the ODA planning decisions team to get some information. The receptionist told me I'd got the wrong number! A touch of slapstick! I was then told I should know the procedures. I had no idea what the officer was talking about. Classic confronting the audience. Then the gentlest satire. It transpired the ODA delivery bit hadn't yet delivered the application to the ODA planning decisions bit. Straight out of Yes Minister! Fantastic! I couldn't have thought of a better plot myself.

Bravo! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! It all makes life so much more fun!


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