£2k lamp-post lights nothing but the inside of a tree

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Seagulls sit atop a lamp post

Birmingham City Council is in the process of spending a small fortune upgrading its lamp-posts. The swanky new posts cost an incredible £2,000 each, but the use of energy-efficient LED lights promise to be a far more efficient way of lighting the streets. Except, perhaps, the one which has been installed inside a tree - which isn't efficiently lighting anything.

So how does this rate in the enormous list of council contractor foul-ups?

Post in a tree

The lamp-post has left Eastern Road in Sutton Coldfield in darkness for the last four weeks, because when contractors installed it, they chose to ignore the fact that it would be entirely covered by the foliage of a conifer tree. The new post is in exactly the same spot as the old one, but the different design means that rather than poking out of the tree like the old one, this simply lights the inside of the tree.

According to the Sutton Coldfield Observer, it was spotted by Sutton Vesey Councillor Rob Pocock, who did a survey of the lights last week. He told the newspaper that: "I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw what the contractors had done. It must have taken a super-human effort to get it so well hidden inside those trees."

The Daily Mail reported that the contractors had contacted the homeowner and asked them to trim the tree.

Pocock added that it was the kind of thing that gives council contractors a bad name. However, there are no shortage of those.

Crazy contractors

In July last year Sutton Council in south London was forced to admit that it couldn't enforce a huge number of parking fines, because contractors working for another department in the council hung flower baskets over parking restriction signs in Belmont Village.

Two months earlier it was the turn of Chester council who admitted that workers had painted the word 'school' along with yellow zig-zag lines outside Woodfield Primary in Newton, Chester. The only trouble was that the school had been demolished four years earlier.

And a month before that it was Swindon Council, who told contractors to deal with the issue of illegal parking in alleyways. They responded by painting double yellow lines down both sides of an alleyway that was far too narrow to squeeze a car down.

But one of the weirdest decision was back in 2011, when Essex County Council installed a disabled parking spot - with a lamp post right in the middle of the spot. After residents complained, the parking spot was moved along the road - directly on front of the steps into a property - blocking access. And after more complaints they moved it back to its original spot - and took the lamp-post down.