Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Hands off our parks

My friend Kathy Levine has written an article for the Better Barnet website about the parks situation. She says:

Saturday was the hottest day of the year and Friary Park playground was practically empty because there was a charge to come into the park due to the Friern Barnet Summer Show taking place that weekend. I actually took a photograph of the virtually empty playground to capture it because I thought it was so sad.

As part of Barnet council's 'One Barnet' programme, the council are still planning to encourage more private hire of four local parks and open spaces - Hendon Park, Edgwarebury Park, Princes Park and Scratchwood.

The council's original plan was to do this in several Barnet parks, including Victoria Park, Oak Hill Park, and Lyttelton Playing Fields, but they backed down following a vigorous campaign by local residents and Labour councillors who were concerned about noise nuisance, traffic, parking and environmental damage.

1,206 people responded to the council's consultation on these private hire of parks proposals, and up to 95% of those people responding said they were opposed to the plans.

The question is, why, given this response from local people, are the council still going ahead with plans to encourage more private hire of parks in ANY of our parks. If it is not right for Victoria Park or Oak Hill Park why is right for Hendon Park or Egwarebury Park?

This is all part of the 'One Barnet' plan to increase the council's income by charging local residents more for things, and introducing more new fees and charges.

Labour councillors stressed the importance of public access to our parks as part of their submission to the private hire of parks consultation.

As we can see from the picture above, when people have to pay to get access to our parks and playgrounds they end up not being used.