The Council’s second consultation on its budget proposals closes today.
A good number of our friends have made comments.
Here are mine related to the parks sell off.
7. Grounds maintenance: Bring forward 2016/17 saving of an extra £113,000 to 2015/16. Specification to be reduced, including ceasing leaf clearance, reducing grass cutting to 9 cuts a year, reducing shrub bed maintenance and benches and sign maintenance. (Total saving over four years = £737,000)
Sensible reductions in maintenance will help Bexley Council undo some of the damage done by their contractors to sensitive sites over the last few years. The Council must get advice on appropriate management rather than just ‘walk away’ from maintenance. There are many expert local people with useful site specific knowledge who should be consulted. The Council could probably save considerably more if it took a sensible approach to grounds maintenance.
8. Highways grounds maintenance: Reduce grass cutting to 10 cuts a year in 2015/16 and reduce shrub bed maintenance. In 2016/17 cease leaf clearance, reduce grass cutting to 9 cuts a year, reduce maintenance of benches and reduce reactive maintenance by 65%. (Total saving over four years = £180,000)
As with grounds maintenance, there are reductions in activity that can be done to improve wildlife value and save money. It needs to be considered though so that there isn’t a rejection of conservation maintenance just because the Council allows lots of areas to become scruffy.
The proposed sale of public open space is disgraceful. Research closely positively correlates the amount and nearness of public open space with physical health, mental health, social cohesion and property values quite apart from the value for the protection of wildlife. This Council may close libraries and other facilities, but they can all be reopened by a more enlightened future set of councillors.
Once parks are gone they cannot be replaced. There will be poorer provision with all the adverse effects on health, wealth and wildlife plus more housing and a greater requirement for public open space! Previous generations of residents in Bexley have made sacrifices to provide all this open space.
It would be appalling if one group of councillors undid all of that investment. There are great possibilities to reduce costs by changing the management regimes to more enlightened wildlife environmentally friendly approaches. That is what the Council should be doing, an improvement in our local environment while saving money.
42. Please use this space to make any general comments or suggestions about the proposals and the Council’s budget.
So, are you proud of years of not increasing Council Tax now?
The on-line survey form is here: