Saturday, May 12, 2007

Parks Scrutiny Panel - How safe are our parks?

A fascinating session, hindered only by the incessant rain which poured on our three quarters of an hour tour of Newsham Park. What an irony, I bring the panel to the park in my ward and for the first time the weather is not with us...

A poor turnout too from the panel members, apologies or not, but thankfully four local ward councillors turned up and gave good if not a tad overly lengthy contributions.

We identified a host of issues in the park itself during our walkabout which I am hopeful will form part of the sizeable Heritage Lottery Fund bid for the park that we are now ready to consult on.

I was also delighted that Harald Braun of the Friends of Newsham Park was able to come and share their wish list with us.

We then got on to scrutinising the safety and security aspect of the parks' strategy for the city. City Watch are now running mobile CCTV vehicles on a 24/7 basis across our city park. I had not been aware of this before, it sounds great but I still want to see a sample of their timetable before I can believe that they make it into and around all our parks each day.

We were unanimous in agreeing that we need to provide activities in parks for young people so that they are not diverted into damaging the existing provision out of boredom. We were particularly interested in the fitness trail - parallel bars, equipment to encourage sit-ups, stretching, all those sorts of things, and markers on the ground every 50m for runners and joggers etc, so that getting fit and sporty is a draw instead of trashing swings and slides.

We talked about better lighting in parks to protect walkers after dark, but did not entirely resolve the subsequent dilemma of encouraging people to think they were then safe.

All in all a fascinating session that we all enjoyed, do read the minutes, along with all the others, on the Council website


steve faragher said...

bring back Parkies, only a human presence will make the parks accessible safe and stop them getting trashed

JB said...

Spot on Steve, occasional CCTV is no substitute for eyes and ears and activity.

By leaving so many houses overlooking the park empty, the council are severely compromising the security of this assett and the safety of those using it.