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The situation is this: we want to put up a new carport at home. This requires approval from the local council. All good – get plans drawn up, get application form filled in and sent off; wait. Letter comes back with a couple of questions and a couple of conditions, one of which is the need for a driveway to be put in over the footpath.

Now I understand perfectly why the council doesn’t want us driving vehicles up over their kerb, since there is a reasonable expectation that this will result in damage to said kerb. I can also understand that since the council accepts liability for accidents happening on their footpath, they would insist on being responsible for making the changes to it so they are comfortable with their risk. Still all good, if somewhat long-winded.

Today I received a written quote for the work on an invert and crossover for our new driveway, and this weird process begins. I have to “present this form at the Council office or any Service Centre listed below where arrangements will be made for an agreement form to be drawn up and forwarded to your address for completion.” Say what?

Bear in mind the following:

  • If I want a carport, I have to put in the driveway
  • the Council is responsible for putting in the driveway

so the chance of me knocking back their quote is pretty slim. But not only that:

  • they have ALL the information about the project
  • they are aware of the conditions imposed
  • they have all my salient personal details

so why isn’t the “agreement form” included with the quote?

As instructed, I front at a Council Service Centre (fortunately this isn’t a long way to travel), where I discover:

  • the service clerk has no idea what to do with the form
  • when she rings the head office, they have no idea what to do either

Fortunately, another clerk there HAS seen one of these things before, and knows what happens next (and this is the good bit):

  • they take the form from me
  • they pop it into the internal mail to Bob
  • Bob performs some magic
  • and then they’ll mail me out an agreement form

So they have sent me a form just so I can give it back to them, with no discernible progress towards a carport OR a driveway in either their effort or mine. I still don’t have an agreement form, which could have been included with the quote, and I have lost an hour of my life that I am unlikely to see again. Is it just me, or is this (even for government) just a little atherosclerotic?