In a letter to the Ealing Gazette last Friday a man called John Messer of Northolt called the current administration “this thieving Tory council”. We have more important things to do than get into legal fights with Messer and the Gazette but these people need to grow up a little and moderate their language. No wonder people get turned off politics.
The Northala Fields scheme is great and a credit to the previous administration. It looks like Phase 1 of the project will come in with a £690K surplus. The Labour group and the consultants involved, who perhaps are not as disinterested as they might be, would like to spend this surplus raising more cash to undertake an ambitious Phase 2. In doing so they would put at risk the surplus generated to-date in order to raise further cash. Whilst the speculate to accumulate spirit is admirable in some ways it is not prudent. Phase 2 is high risk and will cost the council £1.8 million in the best of all possible worlds and maybe £4.6 million in a worst case.
When Phase 1 ends the park will be left with some notable missing components such as loos, signs and a children’s playground. The Conservative council has prudently decided to take a bird in the hand approach. We have a surplus. Let’s spend it on delivering these missing components so that we can all enjoy the park next year. Sure it would be great to have a more ambitious project but the money ain’t coming from the Lottery in the run up to the Olympics so get real.
The council is taking a sensible approach and the scheme’s opponents are using half truths and scare tactics to get people excited. The council’s priorities are clear and splashed all over the website.
Labour may want to play double or quits with public money but we would rather bank the winnings for Ealing and get on with governing. When we have got the basics right we can afford to be a bit more ambitious. The reason Labour lost the last election was because they lost sight of the basics. The vision thing is fine but not if your street is strewn with rubbish and your mum can’t get help from social services.
If you want some more facts as opposed to smears see Jason Stacey’s statement on the council’s website.