£2M BOOST FOR ‘PARKS AND PAVEMENTS’… IF YOU’RE REPRESENTED BY A CONSERVATIVE

Kingston Council’s proposed budget for 2017/18 has been released, containing quite a number of alarming priorities from the Council… One such priority is set to come before the Residents Committee this Thursday, 2nd February.

The Parks & Pavements Improvements Project is a £2 million project, with money set aside for in the budget for the coming year, with the aim of ‘improvements of parks, public realm and pavements’.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

The report being presented appears rather honest and upfront, saying, quite rightly, ‘significant budget pressures over a number of years have meant that large capital improvements… have not been achievable’. A number of our open spaces could certainly do with a little TLC.

The report states that, in order to come up with the list of parks to be improved, the ‘members (councillors) compiled a long list of projects they would like to see completed in their local ward’. Did they? We’ve asked Councillors from each of the opposition groups, and not one of them had been asked, yet alone even knew of the project.

So, with this in mind, where are the parks and open spaces that will be improved?

The locations for the parks activities are:

  • Athelstan Recreation Ground (Represented by Cllr Doyle, Conservative and two LDs)
  • Blagdon Road Park (Represented by Cllrs Paton, Bedforth and Pandya, Conservatives)
  • Alexandra Drive Playground (Represented by Cllrs Hudson, George and Hayes, Conservatives)
  • Raeburn Open Space (former lagoon area) (Represented by Cllrs Hudson, George and Hayes, Conservatives)
  • Elm Road Recreation Ground (Represented by Cllrs Craig, Glasspool and Austin, Conservatives)
  • Fairfields Recreation Ground (Represented by Cllr Doyle, Conservative and two LDs)
  • Tudor Estate Playground (Represented by Cllrs Cunningham, Scantlebury and Netley, Conservatives)
  • Canbury Gardens Playground (Represented by Cllrs Cunningham, Scantlebury and Netley, Conservatives)
  • Woodgate Avenue Playground (Represented by Cllr Day, Conservative and two LDs)
  • Knollmead Playground (Represented by Cllrs Hudson, George and Hayes, Conservatives)
  • The Wood (Represented by Cllrs Self, Ayles and Gander, Lib Dems (see below))
  • Latchmere Recreation Ground (Represented by Cllrs Craig, Glasspool and Austin, Conservatives)
  • Barton Green (Represented by Cllrs Arora, Pickering and Roberts, Conservatives)
  • Dickerage Recreation Ground (Represented by Cllrs Arora, Pickering and Roberts, Conservatives)

Every single improvement (bar The Wood) is in a ward represented by Conservatives. Lib Dem or Labour wards, anyone? They obviously don’t count in the eyes of the administration. What a shame for those who want improvements to their parks but are represented by Liberal Democrats, Labour and Independents – clear point scoring from the administration there.

Let’s just touch on The Wood, as this is in Surbiton Hill Ward, represented by three Liberal Democrats… They’re not Conservatives! There is, of course, a method to their madness. Let’s cast our eyes back to the 2014 Election result in Surbiton Hill – it just so happens to be one of the most marginal seats in Kingston, and the most marginal in Surbiton… Tories were just 23 votes from winning Surbiton Hill at the last election.

Putting this into the bigger picture, here are some of the parks that will not be improved in this latest scheme:

  • Churchfields Recreation Ground (Represented by Cllrs Reid, Mirza and Bamford, Lib Dems)
  • Jubilee Wood Local Nature Reserve (Represented by Cllrs Reid, Mirza and Bamford, Lib Dems)
  • King Edward’s Recreation Ground (Represented by Cllr Day, Conservative and two LDs)
  • King George’s Recreation Ground (Represented by Cllrs Thayalan, Davies and Rolfe, Lib Dems)
  • Pear Tree Close playground (Represented by Cllrs Reid, Mirza and Bamford, Lib Dems)
  • RAF Chessington Playground (Represented by Cllrs Reid, Mirza and Bamford, Lib Dems)
  • Sir Francis Barker Recreation Ground (Represented by Cllrs Reid, Mirza and Bamford, Lib Dems)
  • Woodview (Represented by Cllrs Reid, Mirza and Bamford, Lib Dems)
  • Kingfisher Playground (Represented by Cllr Doyle, Conservative and two LDs)
  • Queens Promenade (Represented by Cllr Doyle, Conservative and two LDs)
  • Kingston Road Recreation Ground (Represented by Cllrs Griffin, Cottington (LAB) and Cllr Brisbane (LD)
  • Risborough Green Open Space (Represented by Cllr Mary Clark who is spending her own ward funding on play equipment for this space)
  • Fishponds Park (Represented by Cllrs Green, Yoganathan and White, Lib Dems)
  • Victoria Recreation Ground (Represented by Cllrs Green, Yoganathan and White, Lib Dems)

SO WHY CHOOSE TO INVEST £2M INTO PARKS REPRESENTED BY CONSERVATIVES AND IN MARGINAL SEATS?

ANYONE WOULD THINK THERE WAS A COUNCIL ELECTION NEXT YEAR…

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