Isn’t this just Big Society in action?

Here at We Love Local Government Towers (okay, they aren’t actually towers, but they are ivory) we are always on the lookout for interesting stories about anything and everything to do with local government.  If you happen to have one please do e-mail us at, which is exactly what one of our dear readers has done.

It’s a nice way to end a week which has looked in particular at public sector pay, and whilst it’s not exactly about local government it is interesting that the story doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.  With people sitting next to each other often not talking it’s no wonder that a zoo and the Council didn’t do the same…Outside Bristol Zoo there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 buses. For 25 years, its parking fees were managed by a very pleasant attendant.  The fees were for cars £1.40, for buses about £7.00.

One day, after 25 solid years of never missing a day of work, he just didn’t show up, so the zoo management called the city Council and asked it to send them another parking attendant.

The Council did some research and replied that the parking lot was the zoo’s own responsibility.  The zoo advised the Council that the attendant was a city employee. The city Council responded that the parking attendant had never been on their payroll.

Meanwhile, sitting in his villa somewhere on the coast of Spain or France or Florida is a man who’d apparently had a ticket machine installed completely on his own and then had simply begun to show up every day, commencing to collect and keep the parking fees, estimated at about £560 per day – for 25 years.

Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over £7 million pounds …….  and no one even knows his name.

Looks like I can adjust my ambition from wanting to earn as much as the Prime Minister to wanting the wage of a parking attendant in Bristol!

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