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Ealing and Northfield

Skatepark still being attacked

elthorne-park

I am disappointed that the skate park “bitter enders” are still trying to undermine the council’s proposals to put a skate park in Elthorne Park. Jill Evans, of Coldershaw Road, wrote in last week’s Gazette to say:

Mr Taylor’s letter, typically selective on facts, alleges his consultation produced a favourable response for a skatepark to be placed in Elthorne Park. It did not. As usual this council’s consultation results were predetermined by the careful selection of questions asked and not asked.

Ms Evans does not like democracy it seems. The results are clear and were published by the council here. She and others believe that they can win their argument by rubbishing our consultation exercise. It merely demonstrates that they have lost the argument. It is clear that Ms Evans thinks that the residents of Townholme Crescent should have a veto about what goes on in the park. I am sorry but this is unrealistic. The majority of Ms Evans’s neighbours want the park to go ahead. It is a shame she can’t accept their opinion.

Ms Evans laughably tries to create dividing lines between people who live side by side. According to her she is a “have not” but if you go to the end of her road where it turns into Midhurst Road and enters the Northfield ward I represent suddenly people become “haves” and live in the “privileged Ealing area”. The map below shows that Northfield ward actually abuts Elthorne park, see full version here.

elthorne-park-map

It is worth noting that we have made a decision to go ahead. But, the next step for the project to go through planning. It is up to the planners and Ealing’s parks people to come up with a workable, credible solution that addresses the concerns that have been raised in the consultation process. The public will have a proper opportunity to contribute and I am sure that we will end up with a successful project which most people are happy with, most of the time.

4 replies on “Skatepark still being attacked”

Phil
It is still being attacked you say?!

I oppose any Ealing greenery being lost to concrete unless there is no land in the whole borough which could be used instead. It would be interesting if you released all the internal papers which lead this site to being chosen as a main option.

Why the proposal is to put a skate park on the edge of the borough is quite baffling. Surely there are not more kids living in this part of the borough per square mile than elsewhere. Transport to here is nothing like as good as in the centre of the borough.

Clearly the Council is not giving enough weight to the wishes of the school unless they have changed their mind.

Unless they already are, it would be far more democratic if consultation questions were designed by a committee which included members of the public. I do get annoyed sometimes with some of the questions? (This is democracy worth paying for just in case you talk about cost).

I suppose we will never know, but what was the average age of the majority who voted in favour? Did techno happy kids flood the questionnaire with a Yes?

I hope to be eating my hat, but if we don’t get social problems because of where this skate park will be, I shall be surprised. If you say that it will be monitored, what will be the hours when it is not monitored – in the view of you as a Cabinet Member?

George,

I am afraid that the greenfield/brownfield argument made by some people is pretty spurious. First off the biodiversity value of cultivated grass is minimal – it really isn’t much more interesting than concrete. Our parks are first and foremost recreational spaces that we need to manage to ensure the largest possible number of people are outside enjoying themselves. The skate park achieves this.

Detractors do not want to hear about the adjacent backland sites Haslemere and Wildberry nature reserves which are each bigger than the skate park and are both formally designated Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation. These were created from disused tennis courts – so we are more than compensating for the loss of green space very nearby.

You ask about the density of kids. Yes, there are 900 kids at Elthorne Park High School, which is bigger than the private schools at the centre of the borough. So there are lots of kids nearby without considering Gunnersbury Catholic School down the Boston Manor Road on the Ride, oh and Fielding Primary School and Oaklands Primary School where we held the recent consultation because EPHS were being silly and taking their toys away.

EPHS’s position on the skate park seems to be we find kids a bit scary and we don’t know how to control them. I am not sure they are enhancing their reputation.

Our consultations are designed by specialists. I know that there is scope to ask the right question of the right people to get the answer you want but here we asked a straightforward question: “What do you think of the Council’s preferred location of Elthorne Park for skate park?” and we asked people in a 1.5 mile radius. Not too near. Not too far. As I say we can’t have one road adjacent to the park vetoing activity in the park.

No, the kids did not swamp the consultation from their bedroom PCs. We effectively had two separate consultations. More than 700 people who live within a mile and a half of the park responded to the questionnaire on paper and 61.9% said they would rather have the skate park in Elthorne Park. Out of the 405 people who shared their views online, 76.3% said the park was their preferred location.

I will gladly provide some seasoning for your hat when you eat it George.

If biodiversity is the main issue presumably it would be cost-effective to concrete over all our parks and have zero maintenance costs for eternity.

Following your logic Phil, can we expect skate parks in all our public parks over the next few years? It seems unfair to allow Elthorne and Northfield’s children to have an unfair advantage over Southall, Acton or Greenford children. A skate park on Haven Green perhaps so that all those rich Tory voters’ children at the nearby private schools can strut their stuff.

I hope you aren’t being disparaging about Elthorne Park High School because the Chair is an ex-Labour Councillor. No I’m sure you wouldn’t be that petty.

Let’s hope that if the skate park is built it is well used and not abused out of hours. It would, of course, be most unfortunate if skate boarding turned out to be just a current fad and die out soon just like squash.

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