There have been a couple of set-backs this week as decisions taken by the Council have only gone part of the way towards solving issues raised by local residents in the Westfield area.
Residents had petitioned the Council to secure the rear entrance snickets which serve their properties. The request followed years of problems with anti-social behaviour in the area (although the report from officials claimed that there had been no recent reports to the police). The snickets are not short cuts and can only, legitimately, be used to gain access to adjacent properties. Requests for prompt action were rejected this week, although the site will join the list, with dozens of other locations where action may be taken at a later date.
Each centre will receive a grant of £4000 a year. Although an improvement on what was on offer from the last Council (zero!) it will not be enough to allow the centres to re-employ a part time caretaker. In turn, this means that opening hours will continue to be dependent on the availability of volunteers. The Council have, however, identified a specific fund which will be used to keep the buildings in good structural condition (although, as they own the buildings, they pretty much had to do that anyway).
There are growing concerns that the Council is being unrealistic in expecting volunteers to take on an increasing burden in maintaining local community facilities. Sadly so far the Council have chosen not to consult residents on the options that they are considering. Sources within the Council suggest that it plans to reduce still further the standard of maintenance of public open spaces and that it is expecting local people to fill the gap. We doubt that will happen particularly at a time when the Council continues to waste money on “free” newspapers, “free” bus travel for under 18’s etc while continuing to rack up the amount that it borrows (and hence the interest charges that it must pay each month).
Cornlands Road park
The Council has agreed to close off one of the entrances to the Cornlands Road park. However the area remains insecure and needs further investment if it is to become a well used community asset.