Original pot must need replenishing

TWO weeks ago you included a very interesting letter relating to the proposed skate park in Manor Gardens, and in particular the use of Section 106 money, if the lottery funding is insufficient to cover all costs.

The original pot of £85,000 must surely have dwindled considerably since original estimates were received, with fees and added costs - one being the apparent need for a two-metre high wall to screen noise and anti-social behaviour.

To that we must add the substantial cost of the temporary road surface being constructed through Gildredge Park for heavy vehicular access, and of course the removal of this, and making good the lawns afterwards.

I understand that if the costs have now risen above the £85,000, then Section 106 money will be used to make up this deficit. This could easily be £40,000.

On discussing this matter with friends in neighbouring councils, they are surprised anything should be taken from this fund, which is money set aside from planning applications for specific use.

Examples would be contributions to affordable housing, new roads, and in some cases improvements to park areas - but not for projects like this, specifically for a minority section of our society.

We recently received assurance from the leader of the council that front-line services will not be affected by the recent round of cuts, but other non-essential areas may be, including our much valued parks and gardens team.

Does it not make more sense to retain staff who will ensure green spaces are maintained for all, rather than spend valued funds on a skate park - especially as we are in the middle of a serious recession, the likes of which has not been experienced for many years.

We have to ask the question - are the Mayor and councillors in touch with reality at this time, or after securing popularity, and a new term in office?


Park Close